The Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley is sponsoring the symposium "ART/CITY" on March 16, 2012. Participants have been invited to respond to the prompt “in relation to the arts and civic life, the question I am wrestling with right now is…” in advance of the event. This guest posting is by Laura Inks, member of the Creative Collaboration Network.
We are working with a group of citizens and the Mayor's office, to examine an area in town called the Funk Zone. It has been designated an arts, marine and tourist district and is one block from the beach and our main tourist area, the wharf and State Street. Developers are buying up huge plots of land and are raising the cost of living in an area traditionally known for being a cheap rent arts neighborhood. While the developers would also like to keep the funk in the zone, it must pencil out for them and their investors. So my question is: How do we reconcile the various stakeholders values and goals and serve everyone's need for economic vitality, creative community sustainability, improve the area, but not too much, so the funky flavor is maintained and artists can remain?