Culture and Community Revitalization: A Collaboration (2006-08)

Culture and Community Revitalization: A Collaboration (2006-08)


Between 2006 and 2008, with support by the Rockefeller Foundation, SIAP collaborated with The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), a community development financial institution, on an investigation of the creative sector's potential contribution to neighborhood economic and community development. The staff of TRF challenged SIAP to identify how its research findings on the role of arts and culture in urban communities could be applied to the practice of place-making and revitalization. In turn, SIAP challenged TRF to redefine how a CDFI could think about the creative sector.

One surprise outcome of the collaboration was TRF's realization that it already had been investing in the cultural sector. In fact, around 8 percent of its total portfolio consisted of creative sector projects, including the Crane Arts Building discussed in the policy brief described below.

Through the collaboration, TRF and SIAP arrived at a common perspective. We agreed that today's urban policy environment requires us to consider a wider range of "players" in the development of strategies and that the gap between policy-makers and practitioners has narrowed. We agreed, as well, that an ecological approach that focuses on how different elements of the cultural sector interact in the process of place-making is the most productive starting point for the emerging field of culture-based revitalization. Finally, we endorsed the need to integrate policy, research, and practice to advance this field.

The SIAP/Reinvestment Fund collaboration produced a critical review of the literature, including discussion of the changing structure of the creative sector in the context of the "new urban reality"; a set of policy briefs; and a prospectus for community investment. These reports and briefs can also be found on the Reinvestment Fund website: