Creativity and Neighborhood Development

Report produced for The Reinvestment Fund

Creativity and Neighborhood Development is a publication of The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) resulting from collaboration with the Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP) at the University of Pennsylvania.

TRF finances urban real estate projects and businesses and provides data analysis to public and private partners. SIAP
is a policy research group that develops methods to explore the role of arts and culture in urban communities. The collaboration was facilitated by the Rockefeller Foundation as part of its commitment to urban development and community cultural vitality.

The starting point for this document was a review of literature on the creative sector and community change guided by Mark Stern and Susan Seifert from SIAP. Next, staff from TRF interviewed people involved in community development and cultural activity in Philadelphia and Baltimore, two cities that exemplify the plight of post-industrial urban centers. We then examined the arts and culture-related investments within TRF’s portfolio and reflected on how those investments relate to TRF’s model of investor-driven change.

The resulting product profited from further input from Mark Stern and Susan Seifert, Joan Shigekawa of the Rockefeller Foundation, and TRF staff, Patricia Smith, Margaret Berger Bradley, Ira Goldstein, Julia Serbulov and Alissa Weiss. A special thank you as well to David Bradley for his collaborative editorial contribution. Arts practitioners, developers and policy analysts who participated in a one-day convening in June 2007 also contributed greatly to our understanding of these issues.

The collaboration also resulted in five briefs. Each paper delves into related issues: Cultivating “Natural” Cultural Districts; From Creative Economy to Creative Society; Migrants, Communities and Culture; Crane Arts: Financing Artists’ Workspace; and Culture and Market Value Analysis (MVA).