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Creative Economic Development, Sustainability, and Exclusion in Rural Areas

  • Year: 2009
  • Author: Fleming, Rachel C
  • Journal Name: Geographical Review
  • Journal Number: Vol.99, No,1
  • Publisher: American Geographical Society
  • Published Location: New York, United States
  • Country: United States
  • State/Region: North Carolina

Creative economy projects appear appropriate for sustainable rural development, but the benefits and challenges of initiating a creative economy in a rural setting are not well understood. Descriptive data and qualitative research with artists, planners, and residents of Chatham County, North Carolina, suggest that, in terms of sustainability, creative economic development projects can be more effective as economic strategies than as environmental and social justice strategies. In this article I suggest that difficulties stem from conditions specific to a rural setting, including a particular relationship with landscape, scarce resources for arts-based development, social isolation and fragmentation, different concerns for artists and planners, and the nature of rural gentrification. In Chatham County, arts-development discourse, particularly the idea of "arts space," is used as a way in which to envision the diverse rural community that artists value yet may work to obscure the exclusionary processes based on race and class that operate in rural gentrification. Keywords: creative economy, discourse, North Carolina, sustainability, rural gentrification.

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