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Artists and the Public Spaces of the City

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The paper presents the variety of ways in which contemporary artists and curators are engaging with the city today. Public art, in its many manifestations, from monument to ephemeral sculpture, forms our mental image and memory of a city. Artists are contributing to the vibrancy of the city right across the public realm, from development, transport, health, sport, education and faith, and finding ways of engaging the public meaningfully in the creative process. Focusing on London, a sample of formal and informal commissioning practices in 'public art' is presented, from its procurement through the planning process to non-commissioned 'guerilla' street art. The role of artists on design teams and the value of one-off installations and temporary programmes of sculpture and light will be explored, alongside the range of patronage of public art today. Aff ordable studio spaces for artists are a continual issue in a city with rising property values: the paper cites models for retaining artists' homes and studios as well as problems encountered by creatives being forced ever further from now peripheral areas. Many contemporary art galleries are also finding themselves 'priced out' of the centre, bar the more established international galleries. Since artists and galleries have been responsible for regenerating entire districts, can their presence be safeguarded through planning regulations?
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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