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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Regional Planning

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Mark Hamin

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Brabec

Third Advisor

Rodney B. Warnick

Subject Categories

Urban Studies and Planning


The process of using arts and culture to change the physical and social character of places has been defined as ‘creative placemaking’. Creative placemaking granting agencies originally considered constructing ‘livability’ and ‘vibrancy’ indicators to characterize the outcomes of their programs. However, the research community critiqued these indicators, which were considered too nebulous, and efforts to develop them were halted. Other researchers have sought to measure place vibrancy in other contexts. This study revives the initial line of inquiry for using ‘vibrancy’ as a measure of creative placemaking effectiveness and of revitalization efforts more generally. Here, place vibrancy is proposed as a construct that can be measured through creation, review, and testing of scales regarding resident and visitor attitudes toward vibrancy. Literature searches, expert reviews, focus groups, and interviews have been conducted to define the construct of place vibrancy, and results were coded in relation to seventeen themes: forward-looking governance, local ownership of media, education, infrastructure, natural beauty, social capital, well-being, arts and culture, gathering places, pedestrians, unique and historic architecture, cleanliness, strong economy, safety, diversity, buzz, and moderate tourism. Scales were constructed for each theme. With the scales, baseline place vibrancy was measured in three villages in the town of Montague, Massachusetts, which are undergoing varying degrees of cultural intervention: Turners Falls (TF), Millers Falls (MF), and Montague Center (MC). Turners Falls has received cultural funding over the last 10 years, MF is about to received planning attention, including cultural interventions, and MC will not receive any new planning or funding in the near future. The hypotheses were that baseline place vibrancy levels would be higher for TF than MF or MC, and that MF will show the greatest increase over time. The scales were administered as a hand‑delivered paper survey to a census-based sample of households in each village. Baseline place vibrancy was found to be statistically significantly higher in TF than in MF but not in MC, thus problematizing the first hypothesis. Later assessments will be made yearly for the next three years to test changes in place vibrancy for MF relative to TF and MC.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.