Article

The Social Wellbeing of New York City's Neighborhoods: The Contribution of Culture and the Arts

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Abstract

This report presents the current findings of a study of culture and social wellbeing in New York City conducted by the University of Pennsylvania Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP) in collaboration with Reinvestment Fund. The project began in the fall of 2014 when SIAP accepted an invitation from Tom Finkelpearl, Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for the City, to conduct a study of the social value of the arts. The study builds on SIAP’s over twenty years of research and writing on the non-­‐ economic impact of the arts on urban communities. During that time, SIAP has formulated a perspective on culture’s role in urban neighborhoods based on the idea of neighborhood cultural ecology or “natural” cultural districts. We’ve completed a variety of studies—typically combining quantitative data analysis and qualitative evidence from interviews and observation—in a number of cities, including Philadelphia, Seattle, and Baltimore.

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... In New York City, a three-year study on the relationship of cultural ecology to social wellbeing across city neighbourhoods uses a 10-dimension framework for social wellbeing which focused on the concept of "neighbourhood cultural ecology" (Stern & Seifert, 2017). The report applies a capabilities approach in linking culture and well-being: ...
... It found that lower-income neighbourhoods with fewer resources were also the ones that had the strongest link between social well-being and culture. Cultural resources, when controlled for socio-economic and ethnic factors, were also significantly correlated with better outcomes in personal security, health, and schooling (Stern & Seifert, 2017). A cultural ecology contributed to dimensions of well-being including social connection, political and cultural voice, and public environment (Stern & Seifert, 2017). ...
... Cultural resources, when controlled for socio-economic and ethnic factors, were also significantly correlated with better outcomes in personal security, health, and schooling (Stern & Seifert, 2017). A cultural ecology contributed to dimensions of well-being including social connection, political and cultural voice, and public environment (Stern & Seifert, 2017). ...
Thesis
Frameworks for the application of the arts in community settings tend to focus on the development of individuals’ empathy or social bonds. A commensurate level of consideration tends not to be given to the socio-economic, political, and institutional forces and processes that shape such development and to how the arts might help build capacities to manage the impact of such forces and processes. The recognition of persons as interdependent in systems reliant on mutual care has implications for applications of the arts in many specialised domains as well as in general public life. Especially in clinical or social interventions, unrecognised institutional dynamics may introduce or maintain imbalances of power in community and professional practice. Music, as a participatory and temporal activity facilitating social synchrony, can foster dialogic and reciprocal relations in social life. To systematise and study a participatory music activity on an organisational and community level, I designed and implemented two collaborative songwriting programs in clinical and social service settings carried out through the nonprofit organisation, Humans in Harmony. One activity, music corps¸ was a two-month program in New York City involving participants from colleges and social service organisations serving adults with disabilities, at-risk youth, and nursing home residents. Another activity, implemented through a Humans in Harmony chapter at Columbia University Medical Center, paired health professional students with patients in palliative care support groups. Ethnographic observations and participant interviews revealed that engagement in interpersonal processes aligned with a capabilities-informed approach which emphasised social reciprocity, well-being, and flourishing. Moreover, evaluations of the activities through pre- and post-program measures supported a hypothesis of enhancement of interpersonal closeness and in attitudes about empathy and care. Such participatory approaches may offer new frameworks for the application of the arts in response to current geopolitical and cultural challenges.
... The benefits of this transformation occur at the individual and community levels, positively impacting community members, businesses and nonprofit organizations, and government service providers and public agencies. When the community is engaged and empowered to cocreate art, a broad mix of positive physical, economic, social, and psychological outcomes are possible including reduced crime, enhanced health and physical well-being of residents, decreases in income inequality, growth in small business start-ups, increased employment opportunities in the community, and an increased sense of collective responsibility to the community (Pierce, Kostova, and Dirks 2003;Keizer, Lindenberg, and Steg 2008;Mitchell and Popham 2008;Borrup 2009;Markusen and Gadwa 2010;Florida et al. 2011;Elmqvist et al. 2015;Jussila et al. 2015;Stern and Seifert 2017;Land and Michalos 2018). Yet these positive outcomes are not without their tensions and challenges. ...
... Прежде всего это связано с тем, что в системе государственного и муниципального управления выводы по результатам опросов потенциально позволяют соответствующим структурам вносить коррективы в планы и программы дальнейшего обустройства территории, повышения качества жизни. Проблематика анализа социального самочувствия включает в себя разные пространственные уровни, например отдельного города или разных стран [2], и может связываться с разнообразными факторами [3]. ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper provides a systematic and critical review of the literature on cultural and creative ecology and ecosystems. There has been a growing use of ecological language in relation to the cultural and creative sectors within both research and policymaking. However, there is little consistency in the terms employed, with considerable slippage in meanings and application. The paper, therefore, undertakes a two-stage review of the literature. First, a systematic review analysing the content of 56 publications identified within Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar. Secondly, a critical review examining definitional and terminological inconsistencies, the boundaries and geographical scales of cultural and creative ecosystems, and the range of methods and data employed. Here we clarify the relationship between ecological approaches and previous framings such as “creative industry” and “creative economy”. The paper concludes by proposing an agenda for future research, seeking to consolidate the research field and support ecological policymaking.
Alexis Akre Groundswell-Claudie Mabry Irondale Ensemble Project-Terry Greiss Mark Morris Dance Group-Nancy Umanoff Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA
  • Greenlight Bookstore-Rebecca Fitting
  • Jessica Stockton Bagnulo
Greenlight Bookstore-Rebecca Fitting, Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, Alexis Akre Groundswell-Claudie Mabry Irondale Ensemble Project-Terry Greiss Mark Morris Dance Group-Nancy Umanoff Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA)-James Bartlett