Our People | Community

Why do we need to “Get Creative” in our Community?
How do we “Get Creative” with our Community?
What can help to “Get Creative” with our Community?
Who do we need to help “Get Creative” in our Community?
Community Links

Why do we need to “Get Creative” in our Community?
“The Importance of Community:
One of the saddest developments of the 21st century is how isolated people are becoming. They have more “friends” than ever before, but unfortunately these are simply shallow Facebook friendships that do not provide them with any real, meaningful social interaction. If you want to be happier, move to a neighbourhood where you can make real friends.
When you move to a neighbourhood where social interaction is fostered, you will no longer be forced to get the bulk of your social interaction online. Instead, you can enjoy getting out to mix with your neighbours at social events. You will make loads of new friends who will be there for you and your family. Your level of happiness goes up tremendously when you live in a place where neighbours want to come together to know one another and form real friendships.”

“The arts have been heralded as a panacea for all kinds of problems Arts-integrated school curricula supposedly improve academic performance and student discipline (Fiske 1999; Remer 1990).
The arts revitalize neighborhoods and promote economic prosperity (Costello 1998; SCDCAC 2001; Stanziola 1999; Walesh 2001).
Participation in the arts improves physical and psychological well-being (Baklien 2000; Ball and Keating 2002; Bygren, Konlaan and Johansson 1996; Turner and Senior 2000).
The arts provide a catalyst for the creation of social capital and the attainment of important community goals (Goss 2000; Matarasso 1997; Williams 1995).”
How the Arts Impact Communities | Joshua Guetzkow

“The value of arts and culture to people and society:
When we talk about the value of arts and culture to society, we always start with its intrinsic value: how arts and culture can illuminate our inner lives and enrich our emotional world. This is what we cherish.
However, we also understand that arts and culture has a wider, more measurable impact on our economy, health and wellbeing, society and education.
It’s important we also recognise this impact to help people think of our arts and culture for what they are: a strategic national resource.
The value of arts and culture to people and society outlines the existing evidence on the impact of arts and culture on our economy, health and wellbeing, society and education.”

“5 Ways Arts Projects Can Improve Struggling Communities:
This excerpt from the book The Creative Community Builder’s Handbook: How to Transform Communities Using Local Assets, Arts and Culture (2007 Fieldstone Alliance), makes a compelling case that cultural projects are not simply a luxury but play a fundamental role in reviving the fortunes and boosting the prospects of poor, minority and other disadvantaged communities.
Civic institutions, like museums, public galleries, community art organizations, performing art institutions, arts councils and public arts organizations have a rare opportunity to lead significant change by engaging specific groups to help devise and carry out creative community-building neighborhood programs. But it needn’t always be the institution that takes action. The selected stories shown below offer inspiring examples of how individual artists can also make a difference.
The links between the economic health of a community and the quality of its social bonds are becoming increasingly clear. Robert Putnam and other sociologists have supplied convincing evidence that strong social connections are necessary ingredients of economic success.
In looking for the ingredients that affect the physical well-being of people in different kinds of places, Dr. Felton Earls, a Harvard professor of public health, conducted an extensive, fifteen-year study in neighborhoods across Chicago. His research found that the single-most important factor differentiating levels of health from one neighborhood to the next was what he called “collective efficacy.” He was surprised to find that it wasn’t wealth, access to healthcare, crime, or some more tangible factor that topped the list. A more elusive ingredient–the capacity of people to act together on matters of common interest–made a greater difference in the health and well-being of individuals and neighborhoods.
The communities profiled here found opportunities for people to come together in creation and celebration of culture. They developed their social capital by cooperating, sharing, and seeking and finding shared goals, and by developing ties on a cultural level. These connections serve these communities well in their other endeavors–from economic development to civic participation to healthy living.
1. Promote Interaction in Public Space
2. Increase Civic Participation Through Celebrations
3. Engage Youth in the Community
4. Promote the Power and Preservation of Place
5. Broaden Participation in the Civic Agenda”

“The Importance of Supporting Art in Your Community
1. Creating Culture
When you think of some of the most culturally diverse and renowned cities on Earth, they all have at least one thing in common: art. From local galleries to life-size wall murals, a community full of art is a community full of culture. Research has even shown that cities that emphasize art have more civic and social engagement, better child welfare and even lower poverty rates.
2. Stimulating Business
Arts organizations stimulate business and economic growth in a community. The creative industries throughout the United States employ nearly 3 million people and make up around 4 percent of the nation’s businesses. These businesses and the creative people they employ, empower and support encourage innovation while playing a vital part in building and sustaining a local economy. Each year, non-profit arts and culture organizations alone pump an estimated $60 billion into the national economy.
3. Driving Tourism
One of the most extraordinary things about art is its capability of turning any region into a choice tourism destination. Part of this ability comes from art’s wide appeal. From seniors to children, there are ways for everyone to engage in and learn from art. Every day, more than 100,000 nonprofit arts and culture organizations serve as the foundation of our nation’s tourism industry.
4. Inspiring Young Minds
For art to remain a significant part of our society, we must pass it along to the younger generations. Art centers across the country do this by providing classes, programs and summer camps where youth go to learn, grow and create. It has even been found that children who receive education in the arts have higher GPAs, better test scores and lower dropout rates. By inspiring and encouraging children to embrace their individual creativity, we give the resources they need to succeed in life.”

“We have to recognise the huge value of arts and culture to society:
…reminded us that the primary reason we make both public and private investments in the arts is for the inherent value of culture: life-enhancing, entertaining, defining of our personal and national identities.
…a consensus is emerging as to why this is so important. It starts with the inherent value of culture, continues through all the social and educational benefits and only ends with the economic. Otherwise we fall into Oscar Wilde’s celebrated definition of a cynic: knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.
We instinctively know this. Imagine society without the civilising influence of the arts and you’ll have to strip out what is most pleasurable in life – and much that is educationally vital. Take the collective memory from our museums; remove the bands from our schools and choirs from our communities; lose the empathetic plays and dance from our theatres or the books from our libraries; expunge our festivals, literature and painting, and you’re left with a society bereft of a national conversation…about its identity or anything else.
Although the arts do not pretend to be a frontline health service, we’re coming to understand how they can function very effectively in a complementary role.
There’s a strong relationship between arts and cultural engagement and educational attainment. We see an improvement in literacy when young people take part in drama and library activities, and better performance in maths and languages when they take part in structured music activities.
The inherent value of culture, its contribution to society, its symbiotic relationship with education and, yes, its economic power (but in that order)…this is what we call the holistic case for public support of arts and culture.
As the creative sector grows in importance, the role of arts and culture as an incubator of talent will be better understood.”

How do we “Get Creative” with our Community?
“Urban Design | Building for All Portal:
Goal: Christchurch – The most liveable city in the world for people of all ages and abilities.
Principles: Environmental Sustainability, Equity, Culture and Social Justice, Health Promotion, Treaty of Waitangi, Universal Design.
Guidelines: Age Friendly, Child Friendly, Dementia Friendly, Physical Access, Safety, Visual Access, Youth Friendly.
Design Domains: Green Spaces, Health and Education Premises, Housing Stock, Neighbourhoods, Public Buildings, Retail and Commercial Buildings, Sport and Recreational Spaces, Transport.”
“The current focus of Healthy Christchurch in this area is on the regeneration of greater Christchurch. This involves supporting the following initiatives:
All Right? Campaign, River of Flowers – now organised by Flourish Inc.
Previous initiatives supported by Healthy Christchurch that focussed on recovery, community resilience and wellbeing include:
Community Lunches with Richard Till, Festival of Flowers, Integrated Recovery and Planning Guide (IRPG), Places of Tranquillity, Street Talk Tape Art, Warmer Canterbury, The Wellbeing Game.”

“The Healthy Streets Approach™ was developed by Lucy Saunders through her research into the health impacts of transport, public realm and urban planning. It turns out that the key elements necessary for public spaces to improve people’s health are the same as those needed to make urban places socially and economically vibrant and environmentally sustainable.
Lucy has distilled these down to the 10 Healthy Street Indicators™. Focused on the human experience, these indicators show what really matters on all streets, everywhere, for everyone.
10 Healthy Street Indicators™
1. Everyone feels welcome,2. People to choose to walk and cycle,3. People feel relaxed,4. Easy to cross 5. Clean air, 6. Not too noisy,7. Places to stop and rest,8. People feel safe,9. Things to see and do,10. Shade and shelter.”

“Creative Community Buillders (CCB):
CCB helps communities to identify cultural and creative assets – and to leverage them for community revitalization and change. Working in urban districts, neighborhoods, towns, and small cities, our process draws from methods from strategic planning, community organizing and capacity building.
CCB is often drawn to projects that actively integrate culture, design, civic engagement, and local economies.
CCB teams draw from a network of accomplished planners, designers, placemakers and artists who are passionate about helping communities get into gear! We compose teams carefully to fit the scope of work and budget, then work closely with community leaders to assess, set a place-based vision, formulate a plan, put strategic actions into motion, and devise evaluative measures.”

What can help to “Get Creative” with our Community?
“All Right? Wellbeing Campaign:
All Right? launched in February 2013 to support Cantabrians to think about and improve their mental health and wellbeing as the region recovers from the earthquakes and related stressors.
If you’re in Canterbury you might have spotted All Right? on billboards, in newspapers, on noticeboards, on buses and at bus stops, or as badges on people’s chests. You may have even heard All Right? on the radio or seen the campaign on Facebook.
All Right? completes regular in-depth research into how Cantabrians are doing. This gives a wealth of up-to-date knowledge about how people are feeling and the hurdles they are facing.
This research informs everything All Right? does – from raising awareness among community groups, organisations and businesses, to creating tools that promote the things we can all do to improve our wellbeing.
The campaign is a Healthy Christchurch initiative led by the Canterbury District Health Board and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.”
“Places of Tranquillity:
Healthy Christchurch is leading this innovative collaboration creating six gardens of beauty and peace to fill in some of the grey demolition sites across Christchurch.
These gardens are for peace and tranquillity as well as family and community use with spaces designed for both.
Progress and how to get involved with the remaining Places of Tranquillity
Creator Michelle Whitaker says that “the long-term aim is to find more vacant sites and funding for the remaining four garden designs: Greater North West Asia, Africa, Euro-Slavic and Latin America. Then when the city is ready to have the sites back, they can hopefully go into the residential red zones to provide beauty and tranquility along the river”.
Bringing the Places of Tranquillity designs to life
This is a Healthy Christchurch collaboration in partnership with the city’s ethnic communities to include their traditions, cultures and spiritual beliefs. This ensures that these communities’ voices and presence is more visible in the rebuild of our city.
There are three key partners in this collaborative project. Greening the Rubble are providing expertise in temporary site development and project managing the creation. Lincoln University School of Landscape Architecture provided the student competition and are supporting the winning students and their designs into fruition. Community and Public Health (CDHB) provide the overall project management, networks and promotion.”

“Celebrating placemaking: The role of arts and culture in community development:
Placemaking, wielded skillfully, is a powerful tool to preserve, respect, lift up, and celebrate the culture of a community in ways that go far beyond aesthetics. Giving placemaking and, within that, arts and culture, a seat at the table when community development decisions are made can help to support more equitable outcomes.
This can be especially critical in neighborhoods grappling with significant vacancy and abandonment challenges, where residents remain deeply committed to strengthening their community and understandably wary of interventions that may disrupt the community fabric or eventually displace neighbors.
Principles of placemaking can provide a critical gut check for community development practitioners, prompting deeper exploration of questions such as: ‘Who is really being served by this plan?’ ‘Whose culture is reflected and respected in this revitalization project?’ ‘Who will actually use this space and how?’
Within placemaking, art is one means of creating a sense of place – and can also be a means of drawing attention to social challenges in a community; ultimately, one hopes, attracting resources and interventions that support equitable revitalization.
Often, however, the arts are seen as a luxury, or an add-on, to a project, rather than a necessary component of creating an inclusive community.
Similarly, placemaking is rarely seen as an integral part of the overall processes and systems that shape revitalization plans, whether at the lot, block, neighborhood, or city levels. When placemaking isn’t integrated into the planning process in a meaningful and genuine way, decisions may be made that don’t actually reflect the culture, priorities, or needs of community residents.”

Who do we need to help “Get Creative” in our Community?
“Prison Creative Industries: Scoping research for transformative culture and education:
This article builds a link between internationally-infused creative industries policies, strategies and checklists, and prison-based programmes for art and industries within correctional services. The goal is to understand the nature of the contemporary workplace, and provide alternative strategies and pathways for men and women to develop skills for a working life upon release from a correctional facility. The imperative of this scoping research is to address a single and key problem: nearly 50% of the citizens released from prison will return to corrective services within two years. This is an internationally generalizable problem and proportion. To address this challenge, a whole of government – indeed a whole of society – approach is required. The shaping initiatives proposed in this article offer a reconfiguration of sport, media, food, education, tourism, arts and cultural policy, operating against the reified and limited configuration of ‘creative arts,’ to provide strategies for entrepreneurship and regional development within the correctional discourse. These initiatives summon a life and career beyond prison walls, to reduce recidivism and enable personal and social momentum, moving the social, cultural and economic axis from crime to justice.”

– “Community Sentences: In the community:
The majority of offenders in New Zealand are on probation, which means they are serving their sentence in the community rather than in prison. Over 30,000 offenders serving community-based sentences at any given time, compared to more than 10,000 offenders in prison.
If you are serving a community sentence or you have been released from prison on parole or with special conditions, you are “on probation”.
Our Probation Officers work with people on probation to motivate them to make changes in their lives. This may include attending programmes to address violence, alcohol and drug abuse or driving offences. If appropriate, offenders can attend programmes that teach them about Māori culture and give them an opportunity to re-connect to their iwi.
There is a strong focus on reducing the likelihood of their re-offending, and keeping the public safe.”

“What is Welcoming Communities?
Talk to any visitor to New Zealand and the first things they are likely to comment on are the beautiful scenery and the friendly locals.
Kiwis are seen as friendly, hospitable and inclusive – qualities highlighted in a new programme: Welcoming Communities Te Waharoa ki ngā Hapori.
Nine councils across five regions are working with their communities to pilot Welcoming Communities, which puts out the welcome mat to newcomers: recent migrants, former refugees and international students.
Communities that make newcomers feel welcome are likely to enjoy better social outcomes, greater social cohesion and stronger economic growth. In this environment, everyone is able to fully participate in the economic, civic and social life of the community. Building connections between locals and newcomers mean everyone feels included and knows they belong.”

“The Importance of Community In Recovery:
One of the most enduring sayings in cultures across the world is ‘It takes a village.’ While it’s a phrase used most commonly to describe raising children, it can also be said that it takes a village to be human. Since the earliest days, humans have operated in tribes. Being part of a community – a part of something larger than yourself – gives you a sense of purpose, belonging, and inclusion. In recovery, a community provides a lifeline.
Alcoholics and addicts cannot rely on willpower alone. On the contrary, those suffering with substance abuse need the support of a community to stay clean. Seeking out the guidance of others who have been in your shoes is essential. Without this communal reinforcement, addicts tend to isolate, which can lead to depression and a greater chance of relapse. One popular saying in Alcoholics Anonymous is ‘I can’t stay sober, but we can.'”

“Lost Connections by Johann Hari review – too many drugs, not enough understanding:
When Johann Hari was 18 he took his first antidepressant. That morning he had visited a doctor and explained how, ever since he was small, he had battled with feelings of overwhelming sadness. When he wasn’t taking himself off to cry quietly, an anxious monologue would be running in his head. ‘Get over it,’ it would say, ‘stop being so weak.’ The doctor was reassuring, explaining that these feelings were to be expected since Hari was one of many people whose brain had depleted levels of serotonin. And so he prescribed some pills that would restore the balance. As Hari swallowed his first tablet, he says, ‘it felt like a chemical kiss’.
It wasn’t until he was in his 30s that he thought of all the questions the doctor didn’t ask, such as: ‘what was his life like?’ ‘What was making him sad?’ ‘What changes could be made to make life more tolerable?’ The push and pull between ‘reactive’ depression (the kind that relates to our environment and life experience) and ‘endogenous’ depression (where something goes wrong in the brain) forms the basis of Lost Connections, an eye-opening, highly detailed though sometimes frustrating investigation into the causes and cures of depression.
You could argue that finding fault in the current system isn’t that hard – it’s the solutions that present the real challenge. But Hari is clear about the difficulties of the task ahead and, in offering new ways of thinking, presents not surefire solutions, but, he says, ‘an alternative direction of travel … points on a compass’. Put in the broadest terms, his argument is that if our current malaise lies in disconnection from vital human requirements such as neighbourliness, professional fulfilment, acknowledgment of trauma and so on, then we need to find ways to reconnect.”

“Creativity for the ages: why it matters, and what you can do about it:
New Zealand is changing. In 20 years there will be 1.3 million people aged 65 or older with a larger number living past 80. Our ageing population will alter the structure of our society, how we relate in our communities, our work, health, housing and recreation needs will all be challenged. Society will need to change in order to support everyone’s well being, including that of seniors.
We all need to face up to the challenges ahead and be prepared to change as everyone has the birth-right to experience physical, mental and social well being. It’s the work of everyone to support older people as individuals to live well; to help them to deal with the changes brought about by age, and to challenge the negative, deficit models of ageing. But how do we do this?
One vital way is through the arts.
The utilisation of the arts to excite imagination and support older people to age well is known as ‘creative ageing’ – a phrase coined by prominent US psychiatrist and gerontologist Dr Gene Cohen in the 1990s.
Creative Ageing is the active participation in any kind of art form.
Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England and parts of America and Canada all have creative ageing festivals celebrating the outpouring of creativity developed and presented by older adults, as well as established centres and studios where art activities are promoted and delivered to older people. In addition the health sector has taken up the idea of Creative Ageing and is paying artists to come in and deliver programmes to patients.
The aim of arts programmes is to extend the healthy life expectancy and quality of life for all people as they age. Maintaining autonomy and independence for the older people is a key goal. In addition there is an intense interest by the health sector to incorporate the arts into prevention, wellness and rehabilitation programs across the spectrum. One of the key goals for the health sector to incorporate the arts is to delay the onset of age-related disabilities.
No one seems to know what is available and I believe this is because art activities are not promoted collectively under the heading of Creative Ageing, nor is it in any government policy, local or central. It’s time to change this and an exciting opportunity is right before us.
The Minister for Seniors, Hon Tracey Martin, is calling for suggestions to be included in the new Positive Ageing Strategy. This is an appropriate and pertinent opportunity to include the concept of Creative Ageing. New Zealand artists have much to offer and it would develop a new area for employment and industry in the creative sector. In turn Seniors would continue to contribute much to a more cohesive and age-friendly society.”

“Housing New Zealand opens largest-ever Christchurch complex as social housing wait list soars:
Housing New Zealand (HNZ) has opened its largest-ever Christchurch complex as it continues to build beyond pre-earthquake stock levels to meet growing demand.
Three tenants occupied the first stage of a 37-unit development in Eveleyn Couzins Ave, Richmond, on Friday. It will be full in about two weeks.
More than 6100 HNZ properties were damaged in the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes and 700 had to be demolished.
HNZ has been criticised in the past for its higher-density complexes, which some critics believe drive up crime in surrounding areas.
Higher-density HNZ complexes were a reflection of society in general, and better met the needs of clients, he said (HNZ chief operating officer Paul Commons).
‘We’ve got to do everything we can to support everyone here…you don’t just put people in homes and walk away.
‘That’s why we’ve got a common room here, we’ve got a physical thing for that sort of purpose…We’ve got increasing demand and the folks we’re housing have got increasing challenges and needs. So the houses are only the start.'”

Community Links
Guide to the Healthy Streets Indicators: Delivering the Healthy Streets Approach
Christchurch Central: Streets & Spaces Design Guide (Strategic Document) Part 1
Christchurch Central: Streets & Spaces Design Guide (Strategic Document) Part 2
Christchurch Central: Streets & Spaces Design Guide (Strategic Document) Part 3
Matapopore Urban Design Guide: Kia Atawhai Ki Te Iwi: Caring For The People
Immigration NZ: Welcoming Communities New Zealand Pilot Programme: Intervention Logic
The Case For Slower Cities