Why should I get a Certificate in Creative Placemaking?

This program is where theory meets practice, participants will gain the skills to effectively address social, economic and cultural issues in creative ways, using existing resources and enhancing what makes that place special.

Graduates are collaborative leaders, supportive teachers, and mission-driven coaches. This program prepares leaders to create the networks within a community that make change happen.
What do participants get from this program?

  • Develop a deep understanding of how communities and local economies can change through creative placemaking
  • Learn to identify key metrics in creative placemaking critical to evaluation and assessment
  • Utilize methods of measurement and analysis determining success, appropriate for all budgets and schedules
  • Identify and evaluate locations for projects, artworks, and performances
  • Explore how to attract more resources and funding to your community while preserving its character and Determine who you need to get on board your team to be successful
  • Learn how to get more support for your work and grow collaborative partnerships
  • Gain valuable insights and guidance from leaders in the field
  • Collaborate with a diverse pool of classmates prompting issues and problems to be explored from various perspectives
  • Build a valuable network of contacts, colleagues and peers
  • Create a tangible vehicle for change - a plan, report or scholarly paper - and get the tools to help promote change in their community
  • Receive a Certificate that demonstrates successful engagement in a rigorous and thoughtful program of study with experts in the field.  The certificate supplements the resume of those experienced in Creative Placemaking and enables those new to it to build their resume with this unique set of skills.
  • Utilize the Capstone project to move forward on an existing project or to develop a project idea addressing a community issue.

Certificate Overview

Core Concepts & Community Analysis

On-demand course helps everyone get on the same page about creative placemaking.  Includes fundamentals of creative placemaking, community development, local economic development, cultural development, influencing others, and ethics. 

Deep Learning Courses

In these discussion-based courses, you get deep knowledge and skills in six areas:
  • Systems planning and evaluation
  • Arts & culture-based community development
  • Arts & culture-based local economic development
  • Team- and alliance-building
  • Site planning
  • Sustainable cultural heritage tourism

Leadership coaching

Through live coaching  and peer-learning sessions with your classmates, you can grow your ability to be a more culturally competent, influential, and collaborative leader.
Sessions cover such topics as:
  • Wicked problems
  • Mental models
  • Conflict management
  • Strategic communications
  • Values-based planning
  • Inspiring others 


Throughout the program, you will work on a real -- or at least realistic -- project to help a place or a place-based community of your choice.
Through the capstone, you can produce a meaningful product, such as a:
  • Plan
  • Guide
  • Grant proposal
  • Evaluation of a current initiatives
  • Article for a scholarly journal
  • Or something else (we'll work with you)


Three short residencies (1-2 days each)
Opening residency (online): Helps you explore ideas for helping places heal, recover and become more resilient.  Connect with classmates.
Midterm residency (in-person, optional): Helps you build communication and analytical skills. Re-connect with classmates in person.
Closing residency (in-person, optional):  Present your ideas to Certificate Community members and the types of people you want to influence.  Get feedback on your project to help you become even more successful

Additional benefits

*Join the growing Certificate Community, a supportive group of students, alumni, instructors and program staff from around the world.
*Get updates on job, contract and grant opportunities for creative placemakers
*After you graduate, get opportunities to build your brand by (and generate revenue) by offering webinars and getting free exhibit space at Creative Placemaking Leadership Summits.
*Free membership to Creative Placemaking Communities
*Flexible payment options

Meet the faculty

Tom Borrup, Ph. D.

Building Creative communities Instructor
Tom Borrup is an internationally known expert in creative placemaking and one of the major thought leaders in the field.  He is the author of The Creative Community Builder's Handbook and most recently  The Power of Culture in City Planning

John Delconte, Ph.D.

sustainable creative economies Instructor
John Delconte received his doctorate in Regional Planning at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst studying creative placemaking—measuring its effects and testing its relationship to other outcomes, such as tourism. 

David B. Pankratz, Ph. D.

Systems, Plans, and Policies Instructor
David B. Pankratz is an arts researcher, evaluator, and policy analyst, and recently retired as the Research & Policy Director for the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council.

Betsy A. Pandora, MCRP, CTA

Destination Marketing and Development Instructor
Betsy Pandora is the Executive Director of the Short North Alliance. Betsy is also an educator on the topics of destination marketing and creative placemaking

Lee Edgecombe, AIA, ASLA, AICP, CNU-A

Making Spaces for Culture Instructor
Lee Edgecombe is a Certified Planner, a Registered Architect and a Registered Landscape Architect and President and CEO of his own Company, The Edgecombe Group, Inc. His personal interests include utilizing Creative Placemaking planning as a catalyst for fostering creative economies in underserved and historically underrepresented inner-city communities of color.

Wendy Benscoter

Building Community Capacity Instructor
Wendy Benscoter, Executive Director of Shreveport Common, Inc., works with City of Shreveport, Shreveport Regional Arts Council, and 30 public/private partners transforming an urban “no hope zone” through the precepts of Creative Placemaking to the National Development Council's “#1 Community Development Project in the Nation.”

Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

leadership coach,
Core Concepts and Community Analysis Instructor
Leonardo Vazquez is a national award-winning planner who is a leader in two emerging fields in urban planning: creative placemaking and cultural competency. He has two decades of experience in community development, community engagement, small group facilitation, local economic development, leadership development and strategic communications.