Artists have long been praised as creative innovators, respected and admired for their unique perspectives and ability to portray life in a new light. Federal and State Governments have long recognized the cultural value that art and artists provide, and thus, legislatures have passed protective housing laws that provide artists with affordable live/work spaces. Today, though artists have often been portrayed as “starving,” studies on urban policy/planning have shown that where artists live, money and capital growth will follow. Artists are pioneers of gentrification. Thus, urban planners and many communities have sought to provide incentives that promote artist relocation in order to facilitate the revitalization of cities, neighborhoods, and towns.
This paper will discuss the history of artist housing laws, the prevalent use of artists to promote gentrification, and the future of artist live/work spaces. Though this paper will focus largely upon artists who reside in New York City, it will also survey and discuss notable cases and artist incentive programs throughout the country. Part I of this paper will discuss artist housing laws, specifically focusing on (1) the history of rent control and its impact on the artist community, (2) New York City’s artist zoned housing, and (3) New York City’s “Loft Laws.” Part II of this paper will discuss gentrification, specifically focusing on (1) the effect artists have on gentrification, (2) communities where artists have contributed to gentrification, and (3) current initiatives aimed at increasing artist populations. Lastly, Part III of this paper will discuss the future of artist housing, and will outline (1) the difficulties artists face post-gentrification, (2) prevalent arguments against rent stabilization, and (3) concerns regarding the longevity and permanency of “artist communities.”
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mary_osullivan/4/