Whether a colorful mural brightening an otherwise-bare wall, a trail adorned with temporary or permanent public art, or a wastewater treatment plant enhanced by interpretive arts elements, cultural resources and art improve the sense of place and community everywhere from workplaces to small towns to major cities. Arts and culture add vibrancy and connectivity to communities, providing opportunities for people with different life experiences to connect with each other and engage with each other and the communities in which they live, work, and play. The MetroFuture regional plan envisions a 2030 in which both metropolitan Boston and suburban and regional centers will have both the capacity to support artists and vital artistic resources such as arts organizations, cultural institutions, parades, and festivals.
In August 2015, MAPC established the Inner Core Arts and Planning Working Group, which is advising on the development of an Arts and Planning Toolkit, which won the 2016 American Planning Association Massachusetts Chapter Outstanding Planning Project Award. The toolkit is a resource for municipal staff and planners interested in planning and community development projects that engage arts, culture, and the creative community. The kit provides a menu of strategies, key terms, suggestions for sources of funding, and examples of real-life projects within and outside of Massachusetts.