The Worcester Way: The Creative City Initiative
Inspired by the work of Charles Landry, an international authority on city futures and the use of culture in city revitalization, the Worcester Cultural Coalition organized a series of forums in April 2005 to encourage open dialogue about the city of Worcester. More than four hundred people – artists, entrepreneurs, business and civic leaders, students, and neighborhood activists – took part in conversations led by Landry over the course of four days.
Participants identified the need to create an open statement that reflects the future direction of the city. Cultural Coalition members worked to blend suggestions and write a document to be called “The Worcester Way: A philosophy for our city-making.” The purpose of the document is to ground new and ongoing projects in a common philosophy, as well as encourage and harness imagination and creativity to make enduring changes. Through creative thinking and problem solving, Worcester can establish an identity that highlights its history of innovation and the diversity of its residents as it becomes a prosperous creative city.
Over the course of 1,000 days, culminating in September 2009, the Cultural Coalition encouraged city-wide participation in 10 large and 100 small projects – some new, some ongoing – that support the Worcester Way. The Cultural Coalition will serve as a clearinghouse for the various efforts that unfold and continue its mission to support creative development throughout the city.
The work of the Coalition to bring Charles Landry to Worcester was supported in part by the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, the City of Worcester, Worcester State College, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.