5MPlaceWorks is a new program led by Intersection for the Arts in collaboration with the 5M Project and PolicyLink. It is a pioneering new entity that fuses creative placemaking and economic development practice with the goal of a new model for inclusive urban development.

City cores are being rapidly redeveloped for the emerging economy and its local workforce. Diverse, inner-city communities are watching their neighborhoods transform, driven by economic and social forces that they are often excluded from. The traditional response is to organize resistance to change, yet the primary issue isn’t change. The issue — and opportunity — is inclusion.

Solutions for socio-economic inclusion need to reach beyond moral imperatives; they require viable models that function within the constraints of the local economy. What is unique about the emerging economy in San Francisco is that it thrives on the cultural diversity and complexity of the city. Consistent exposure to a diversity of people, experiences, and ideas fuels the creative process. Creativity evolves into innovation, which is the backbone of San Francisco’s economy. This means that increased interaction with a true diversity allows more innovation to occur. Diversity has a direct economic currency. Socio-economic inclusion is much more than a moral imperative — it’s a primary ingredient to driving new economic value.

Cultural (or tribal) barriers can make diverse interactions and experiences difficult to organize. There lies untapped value in connecting diverse groups of people and their ideas largely because it doesn’t frequently happen, yet.

This is the opportunity — creatively linking a need for socio-economic inclusion with a need for cultural diversity. In other words, provide benefit on both sides of the equation in a infinite-sum game that supports the transformation of our city cores into socially and economically inclusive cultural districts that feed the emerging economy.