|Published online: October 10, 2014||$US5.00|
Current urban policy approaches to town centres can be summarised through a cleaner, greener and safer approach. At the same time, the value of place and distinctiveness has been recognised as a cultural and economic asset. Public art is seen as helping to create memorable spaces and deliver additional value and greater connectivity with the local community, which in turn brings economic benefit and long-term sustainability (Open House / Art in the Open 2009). This paper seeks to identify how public art activates some of these generic descriptors. Chester-le-Street’s “Civic Heart,” the refurbished market square designed by public artist Jo Fairfax, serves to exemplify art’s formal, spatial, and symbolic contribution to the city. We interpret “Civic Heart” as what Aldo Rossi described as a primary element, that is, an urban artefact that is a receptacle of the site and its history but is also a catalytic element that contributes to the city’s pattern of change and transformation. Public art, in this reading, contributes to a dynamic understanding of place; one that bridges the site’s locale and history with the potential of the new and unexpected. The paper explores “Civic Heart” as an urban artefact through the facets of continuity and transformation.
|Keywords:||Public Art, Place, Urban Regeneration, Public Space, Agency, Identity Formation, Difference|
The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts, Volume 9, Issue 1, December 2014, pp.23-30. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: October 10, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 485.152KB)).
Lecturer, Director MArch Urban Design, Department of the Built Environment, Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
Associate Professor, Department of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
PhD Student, Department of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK