urban institute nonprofit social and economic policy research

Cultural Vitality Indicators


A first-of-its-kind statistical portrait of cultural vitality—ranging from community festivals to financial contributions—finds San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles among the best. Developed by a UI research team, the portrait's seven measures illuminate the intersection of arts, culture, and community well-being.

Cultural Vitality report cover

Ahealthy place to live includes opportunities for the arts, culture and creative expression. This premise has not been properly reflected in policy discussions about ways to improve the quality of life in communities.

To address this problem, the Urban Institute's Arts and Culture Indicators in Communities Project (ACIP) has 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 cultural activity on communities.

This site is intended as a resource for urban planners, community development practitioners, public policy scholars and professionals, arts administrators and funders, artists and community leaders interested developing Cultural Vitality Indicators.

decorative textCultural Vitality Indicators measure the practice of creating, disseminating, validating and supporting arts and culture as a dimension of everyday community life and conditions. These indicators are comparable across communities around the nation and recurrent over time.decorative text