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The Reinvestment Fund: Creativity and Neighborhood Development

By July 11, 2011 No Comments

Creativity and Neighborhood Development: Strategies for Community Investment

From the transformation of a former plumbing factory into a vibrant, multi-use arts facility in North Philadelphia, to the development potential inherent in public art and festivals, this new publication offers approaches and recommendations for investment in arts- and culture-related activity as a strategy for neighborhood development.

Power of Place-Making

The Power of Place-making

Resulting from TRF’s collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania’s Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP) and the Rockefeller Foundation, Creativity and Neighborhood Development: Strategies for Community Investment demonstrates that the intrinsic value of arts and culture can be a key ingredient in neighborhood revitalization by nurturing a wide range of local assets, building social capital and promoting entrepreneurial and civic growth. The publication calls for investing in community-based creative activity to enhance its place-making role and potential, and offers investment ideas for three specific areas: creativity, development and knowledge.

“In looking at the future of cities, we think it’s essential to uncover and invest in those neighborhood assets that have great potential for transformation,” said Jeremy Nowak, CEO of TRF and author of the publication. “We wanted to highlight the particular role community-based arts and cultural activity plays in this kind of revitalization and to propose an investment strategy that encourages and advances the self-organizing transformations of place that this activity creates.”

With insight from TRF’s own lending portfolio, Creativity and Neighborhood Development: Strategies for Community Investment seeks to:

  • Stimulate development in urban neighborhoods by opening up new models for investment.
  • Increase the rate and effectiveness of culturally-driven community change and build institutional capacity, intellectual capital and a public brand for the field. 
  • Broaden the notion of who can and should be part of planning, policy, decision-making and financing related to neighborhood development.
  • Offer a framework for how a unique combination of civic actors can create a vision for place-making rooted in a community’s strengths and committed to developing its potential.

The collaboration also resulted in the following briefs:

From Creative Economy to Creative Society

Authored by Susan Seifert and Mark Stern, University of Pennsylvania’s Social Impact of the Arts Project

This brief uses a social policy lens to look at the impact and potential of the creative economy for urban neighborhoods. While the growth of the creative sector is helping to regenerate regional economies, it is also exacerbating economic inequality and social exclusion among urban residents. This brief reviews current trends and proposes a new model–a neighborhood-based creative economy–as a way to move the 21st century city toward shared prosperity and social integration.

Cultivating “Natural” Cultural Districts

Authored by Susan Seifert and Mark Stern, University of Pennsylvania’s Social Impact of the Arts Project

This brief uses existing research on urban culture and community arts to make a case for culture-based revitalization from the bottom up. This brief highlights a particular kind of social network—the geographically-defined networks created by the presence of a density of cultural assets in particular neighborhoods. Because “natural” cultural districts evolve through the self-organized efforts of local players, the challenge for policy-makers is how to do sensitive social investment that maximizes community benefits.

Migrants, Communities and Culture

Authored by Susan Seifert and Mark Stern, University of Pennsylvania’s Social Impact of the Arts Project

This brief uses the Philadelphia experience to explore whether culture can help engage new immigrants with other social institutions. The brief looks at the role of migrant cultural expression in urban neighborhoods, existing institutional barriers, and how migrants’ adaptation to their social marginality is changing “mainstream” culture.  A century ago, the settlement house movement used culture to link immigrants to opportunities in education, employment, and health care. Can the arts play a similar role in Philadelphia today?

Crane Arts: Financing Artists’ Workspace

This brief discusses the conversion of an old factory into artist workspace and examines the project’s impact on the neighborhood and the arts community.

Culture and Urban Revitalization: A Harvest Document

Authored by Susan Seifert and Mark Stern, University of Pennsylvania’s Social Impact of the Arts Project

This SIAP report serves as the foundation study for the TRF-SIAP collaboration and writings.  The Harvest provides an overview of the state-of-the-art research on culture and revitalization and a critical review of two relatively independent streams of literature on culture-based development—economic revitalization and community building. SIAP concludes by proposing an ecological model that recognizes the interdependency of the social and economic benefits of the arts as a guide to research, policy, and practice in the emerging field of culture-based revitalization.

Creativity and Neighborhood Development: Strategies for Community InvestmentCreativity and Neighborhood Development: Strategies for Community Investment

The complete report authored by TRF’s Jeremy Nowak.

Interesting link sent by Jennifer Dowley at Berkshire Taconic. I haven’t read through it all yet but am bookmarking it here.

Posted via email from Kevin Sprague