Problem-solving the Creative Economy

Happy New Year from Markusen Economic Research


May 2015 be excellent for arts, culture, creative placemaking, and living wage jobs!

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco celebrates the art of placemaking in an afternoon symposium on January 14, 2:00-6:00 pm, followed by a reception, at the Yerba Buena Center:

Creative Placemaking: Connecting Community Development and the Arts

The event launches the special issue of the Bank’s Community Development Investment Review that contains Ann Markusen and Anne Gadwa Nicodemus’ taking stock of creative placemaking to date. All welcome, no cost but registration required:

The pre-copy-edited version of the Markusen-Gadwa Nicodemus contribution can be found by clicking the cover above:  “Creative Placemaking: How to do it well?  We would love to see you there!

Guest teaching and research:

As the John Bousfield Distinguished Visitor in Planning, Ann Markusen will be spending six weeks at the University of Toronto’s Department of Geography and Planning, late February through early April, 2015, teaching a graduate course entitled Arts, Culture and City Planning, giving public lectures and working with colleagues there on joint research projects.

Newly published:

Ann Markusen’s inaugural Andrew Isserman Lecture delivered at the North American Regional Science Association meetings in Miami, November, 2011, out this month as “Problem-Driven Research in Regional Science.” International Regional Science Review, Volume 38, No. 1: 3-29, 2015. The abstract:

This paper explores whether regional science has lived up to its founder’s aspirations to create an interdisciplinary and international field to tackle key societal problems with reasoning, evidence and sound policy recommendations. I distinguish methods-driven from problem-driven research and illustrate the pitfalls of the former with the emergence and use of economic base multipliers from export base theory. Then, beginning with Walter Isard’s bold vision in the first issue of the International Regional Science Review, I follow the evolution of the Review under Andrew Isserman’s three decades of editorship, exploring the difference between methods-driven and descriptive research articles and those addressed to regional problem-solving. Editor Isserman actively sought out scholars and special issue editors with an interest in policy and a willingness to work across disciplines and borders. He raised funding for themed conferences that would yield exciting new papers, a practice his co-editors and successors have continued. In his own research, despite his love of methods and facility with them, Isserman often chose to work on important regional problems such as whether the Appalachian program had produced real personal income gains, how the Soviet Union should pursue regional development under perestroika, and in recent years, rural poverty and agriculture and biotechnology. From work on deindustrialization and military industrial conversion, I argue that exposure to the intricacies of real world policymaking strengthens both theory and empirical research.


Ann Markusen’s “Diversifying Support for Artists”

Grantmakers in the Arts Reader, Vol. 24, No. 3: 46 – 51.

American artists are still emerging from a bumptious cycle of structural downs and ups and institutional changes. Since the watershed of the culture wars in the early 1990s, diverse publics and legislative bodies have questioned artists’ purposes and contributions. Supporters — patrons, funders, friends — have scrambled to help them survive. In ways that may be a great blessing, an older, constraining preoccupation with artistic excellence and peer-judged grants has eroded. More inclusive notions of who artists are and of their many missions are taking root. Over twenty years, a panoply of experiments and initiatives in funding, entrepreneurial training, space provision, organization building, and lifelong learning are helping artists succeed in their work lives. New participatory conceptions of creation and presentation are amplifying markets and deepening public appreciation, as are expanded inducements to anchor artists in community.


And the link to our Making Work Pay final report – great for teaching graduate economic development courses:


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