Creative Community Builder’s Handbook


8-1/2″ x 11″, softcover, 261 pages,
Fieldstone Alliance.

SKU: CCC001 Category:


 Art and culture can be powerful catalysts for downtown revitalization.

Let The Creative Community Builder’s Handbook provide the strategies, best practices, and step-by-step guidance you need to put the power of arts and culture to work in your community.

This practical handbook begins with a review of the ideas and research behind culturally driven community development. It explains key principles that underlie this work and that will help you argue the case for creative community building.

Next, it provides 10 concrete strategies for community revitalization. Each approach is illustrated by two case studies from a variety of cities and towns across the United States. The range of examples provides a menu of things that are possible to bring significant change to your community. These include examples of cultural tourism, artists live/work zones, diversifying the economy, activating public spaces, cultural celebrations and festivals, developing civic pride, and more

The examples are followed by a step-by-step guide to assessing, planning, and implementing these types of projects.

The final chapter includes important tips for securing the funding, public policy support, and media coverage needed to make these projects a success.

By understanding the research, learning from the case studies, and following the action steps, you will be able to make positive arts and culture based change in your community.

Detailed guidance, helpful worksheets, sample timelines, budgets, and agendas will guide you through the entire process.

Table of Contents

  1. The Role of Culture in Community Building
  2. Building Strong Economies through Arts and Culture
    • Strategy 1. Create jobs
    • Strategy 2. Stimulate trade through cultural tourism
    • Strategy 3. Attract investment by creating live/work zones for artists
    • Strategy 4. Diversify the local economy
    • Strategy 5. Improve property and enhance value
    • Best practices in building strong economies through arts and culture
  3. Building Social Connections through Arts and Culture
    • Strategy 6. Promote interaction in public space
    • Strategy 7. Increase civic participation through cultural celebrations
    • Strategy 8. Engage youth
    • Strategy 9. Promote stewardship of place
    • Strategy 10. Broaden participation in the civic agenda
    • Best practices in using arts and culture to build social connections
  4. Assess Your Situation and Goals
  5. Identify and Recruit Effective Partners
  6. Map Values, Strengths, Assets, and History
  7. Focus on Your Key Asset, Vision, Identity, and Core Strategies
  8. Craft a Plan That Brings the Identity to Life
  9. Securing Funding, Policy Support, and Media Coverage


    References to organizations and agencies



About the Author

Tom Borrup has been a leader and innovator in nonprofit cultural and community development work for over 25 years. His consulting, writing, and teaching explore intersections between culture, art, community building, civic engagement, urban design, town planning, and the use of public space.


Read an Excerpt


The Creative Community Builder’s Handbook is guaranteed. If you are not 100% satisfied, you may return it within 30 days for a full refund.


“The first comprehensive account of how arts and culture are revitalizing communities across the U.S. Twenty carefully painted case studies offer a tantalizing menu of what is possible.”
— Ann Markusen,
University of Minnesota

“For those who believe the arts strengthen community, create jobs, and foster economic development, Borrup provides dozens of detailed examples that confirm that belief. For those not yet convinced that nurturing the arts should be part of any economic development strategy, this book will convince you.”
— David Morris,
Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Minneapolis, MN