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Arts and Culture

Cultural Vitality Indicators

The Arts and Culture Indicators in Communities Project developed both a comprehensive definition of Cultural Vitality and tools for how to measure it. These can help us create a more accurate picture of a community and also help understand the impact of arts and culture. A resource for urban planners, community development, scholars, funders, artists and community leaders.


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The Validating Arts & Livability Indicators (VALI) Study: Results and Recommendations (Research Report)
Elaine Morley, Mary Kopczynski Winkler, Simone Zhang, Rachel Brash, Juan Collazos

This report presents findings and recommendations from a study conducted to validate a set of candidate indicators identified by the National Endowment for the Arts to reflect possible effects of creative placemaking initiatives. These initiatives seek to improve community livability through the arts. UI researchers obtained feedback from participants engaged in creative placemaking in a variety of communities to assess the appropriateness and limitations of the indicators under different circumstances. The indicators and guidance on their use are intended to serve as a resource to help communities better understand and communicate outcomes of their creative placemaking efforts.

Posted to Web: June 05, 2014Publication Date: June 05, 2014

Cultural Development and City Neighborhoods (Policy Briefs)
Carole E. Rosenstein

Cities around the world are building urban cultural life as a way to develop local economies and revitalize urban centers. But they have done less to recognize and systematically promote the cultural lives of urban neighborhoods and their residents. This brief examines four characteristics of city cultural policy that affect cultural development and cultural life in neighborhoods. The brief is informed by policy forums held by The Living Cultures Project in New Orleans in 2008-2009 to address key policy issues confronting neighborhood and cultural life.

Posted to Web: August 11, 2009Publication Date: August 08, 2009

Progress in Arts and Culture Research: A Perspective (Research Report)
Maria Rosario Jackson

New research on arts and culture points to a range of impacts in US communities. Arts and culture - including informal activities such as gatherings in parks and community centers where group traditions are maintained and/or invented, church-based artistic activity, and through the convergence of professional working artists in neighborhoods - shape communities in a variety of ways ranging from community health to community development and the creation of social capital. Planners and policymakers would do well to incorporate new research findings about arts and culture into their work on the design and revitalization of communities

Posted to Web: December 17, 2008Publication Date: December 17, 2008

Magnetizing Neighborhoods through Amateur Arts Performance (Research Report)
D. Garth Taylor

There is a significant correlation between the amount of amateur, informal arts activity in neighborhoods and neighborhood stability and/or improvement. This correlation is evidence of magnetization - an increase in the desirability, commitment, social integration, and quality of life in a community area. Arts create shared experience, they encourage intergenerational activity and make public spaces enjoyable, among other effects. For those reasons, components of comprehensive community development should include space for amateur and semi-professional activity.

Posted to Web: October 30, 2008Publication Date: October 30, 2008

New Orleans Housing Institute: Restoring Vibrant Communities (Audio / Video Files)
Urban Institute

On September 17, 2008, Anne Kubisch of The Aspen Institute presented an interactive discussion entitled "Restoring Vibrant Communities." She presented lessons learned from comprehensive community change initiatives that can help inform rebuilding of neighborhoods in New Orleans.

Posted to Web: September 17, 2008Publication Date: September 17, 2008

Artist Space Development: Making the Case (Research Report)
Maria Rosario Jackson, Florence Kabwasa-Green

The development of affordable spaces for artists to live and/or work is certainly an important matter for artists, but it can also be an important issue for people concerned with a range of social issues, including economic development, civic engagement, community collective action and community quality of life. This report considers how artist space developments have been positioned and the arguments made to garner support for them, the advocacy strategies used, and the impacts claimed or anticipated.

Posted to Web: April 18, 2008Publication Date: January 01, 2007

Artist Space Development: Financing (Research Report)
Christopher Walker

In 2003, an Urban Institute report concluded that lack of affordable space posed critical constraints in artists’ ability to pursue their work effectively. Scarcity of affordable space not only made it difficult for artists to work but also disrupted entire communities of artists who relied on each other for ideas and support. In response to this finding, this report looks at both a range of ways in which more affordable artist spaces can be created and the impact of artists’ spaces on neighborhoods and cities.

Posted to Web: April 18, 2008Publication Date: January 01, 2007

Making Cities Stronger: Public Library Contributions to Local Economic Development (Research Report)
Carlos A. Manjarrez, Jessica Cigna, Beata Bajaj

The Making Cities Stronger report, which is based on data from a national survey and case studies from nine sites across the country, provides new insights into the economic impact of public libraries in American cities. The report highlights ways in which library programming in the areas early literacy, employment services, and small business development, contribute to local economic development strategies. The study also identifies ways in which library construction is used to bolster place-based development in a wide variety of settings. Commissioned by the Urban Libraries Council, the study was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

Posted to Web: May 03, 2007Publication Date: January 01, 2007

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