Arts Habitat is creating Edmonton’s first Cultural Infrastructure Plan. We will be working with the City Administration, the Edmonton Arts Council, the Edmonton Heritage Council, and cultural agencies to research, develop, build, and seek City Council approval for this plan.
The project was born from data collected during the research phase of Connections and Exchanges: A 10-Year Plan To Transform Arts and Heritage In Edmonton. Repeatedly, stakeholders brought up issues around arts and culture space, such as lack of venues, tenuous leases, and barriers to access.
We know that arts spaces add value to communities and the activities that take place in them are quantifiable, that drive economic growth and urban development. The lack of resources and support makes many cities see members of their creative sectors leave for live and work space that is more affordable.
This is not a phenomenon occurring only in Edmonton, but rather an issue that has caught the World Cities Culture Forum’s attention. In 2017 the Forum published Making Space for Culture-A Handbook for City Leaders, which stated that an ongoing affordability crisis puts a significant strain on the arts and cultural sector.
Arts Habitat will lead the Edmonton Cultural Infrastructure Plan and examine the current state, obstacles, plans, and unmet need for arts and culture space in the city, creating an actionable framework for how Edmonton can support and grow these creative spaces over the next decade. The plan will also reflect and reinforce Edmonton’s Indigenous communities’ importance, principles, art, and cultural presence.
The Edmonton Cultural Infrastructure Plan will better understand what assets the city has if they are at risk, and what steps can be taken to support and protect them.
We are at the beginning of this long term project and look forward to work ahead.