Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Visual Arts


Professor Sarah Bassnett


My thesis critiques Richard Florida’s notion of the creative class and Charles Landry’s ideas about the creative city to explore how these formulaic, homogenous approaches fail to adequately advance urban regeneration and community enhancement. In contrast to these approaches I examine the importance of interventionist, vernacular creative practices for urban revitalization. Considered are such vernacular endeavours as public artworks, community gardening, and arts and culture festivals. Specifically, I look to the example of London, Ontario to illustrate the ways in which communities can see, use, and appreciate their city differently. The concepts of placemaking and sense of place factor significantly in delineating alternative ways that independent, community organizations can work in line with initiatives posed by municipal governments to regenerate ailing urban spaces. Drawing on examples from different cities, various theoretical frameworks, and personal engagement through event planning and interviews, I seek to illustrate just how important and influential the everyday can be in engendering a culture of progressive civic betterment.