40th Anniversary KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Wendy Benscoter

FROM BLIGHT TO BRIGHT – How Creative Placemaking Transforms Communities 

Communities of all sizes are putting the principles and strategies of Creative Placemaking to work in implementing community change. Smaller cities and rural areas are seeing big results from this approach to increase vibrancy in their communities – vibrancy that improves social and economic conditions. 

Speaker Wendy Benscoter shares the stories of how Shreveport Common and small towns across Louisiana have built action-oriented teams of public/private partners through a Creative Placemaking process. Building on the Carl Small Town Center mission to bring meaningful design to community revitalization projects, this process puts experts, residents, property owners, elected officials, municipal department heads, creative professionals and artists together, fully engaging the stakeholders in reimagining, planning, then actively revitalizing spaces, places and communities. 

Hear how many Creative Placemaking projects start small, or incrementally as a part of bigger plans. When everyone “does their part” to create change, with cultural, economic AND social impact, the sparks “fire up” the community to imagine, believe, invest, and do more. 

Wendy Benscoter

About the Speaker: Wendy Benscoter,executive director for Shreveport Common, Inc., works with the City of Shreveport (Louisiana), Shreveport Regional Arts Council and over 30 major public/private partners to transform a long-blighted urban area to a creative cultural community; Shreveport Common. Since 2011, the team has planned and advanced the revitalization of the historic yet long-blighted 9-block area through the precepts of Creative Placemaking. In 2014, the Shreveport Common Vision Plan was studied and featured by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) Department of Urban Planning, and in 2015 Shreveport Common was voted #1 Most Outstanding Community Development Project in the Nation by the National Development Council Academy, Washington, DC

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