Seifert, Susan C

Email Address
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Research Interests

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 47
  • Publication
    Culture and Community Revitalization: A Framework for the Emerging Field of Culture-Based Neighborhood Revitalization
    (2011-08-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan C
    This summary flyer provides an overview of the publications produced as part of the Culture and Community Revitalization project. The SIAP - Reinvestment Fund collaboration was undertaken from 2006 to 2008 with support by the Rockefeller Foundation.
  • Publication
    Cultural Ecology, Neighborhood Vitality, and Social Wellbeing—A Philadelphia Project
    (2013-12-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan C
    From 2011 to 2013, SIAP with Reinvestment Fund undertook new research that featured development of multidimensional indexes of social wellbeing for the city of Philadelphia. This report presents the results of that collaboration. Chapter 1 documents construction of a neighborhood-based social wellbeing index for the city. Chapter 2 uses the social wellbeing index to analyze patterns of advantage and disadvantage in Philadelphia neighborhoods. Chapter 3 draws on SIAP's historical data to examine changes in Philadelphia's cultural ecology between 1997 and 2012. The summary highlights how the policy tool helps conceptualize and measure culture as a dimension of social wellbeing as well as a contributor to equitable communities.
  • Publication
    Cultural Participation and Distributive Justice
    (2002-07-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan C
    Expanding cultural participation has been an important goal of cultural policy, among both public and private policymakers, over the past half century. In its work with the Urban Institute from 1996 to 2006, the Arts and Culture Indicator Project (ACIP) took a unique approach to the issue in its emphasis on overcoming historically-based exclusion and giving voice to cultural expression by ethnic minorities and poor communities. This paper builds on ACIP’s approach, first, by making explicit the policy question--that is, what are the consequences of cultural expression for distributive justice? The authors then draw on SIAP research in Philadelphia to examine the ways in which different forms of cultural participation connect with indicators of social inequality. They found that much of mainstream cultural expression actually reinforces social inequality. However, two parts of the cultural sector—the “alternative” regional cultural sector and the community cultural sector—show more promise in providing resources for historically disenfranchised groups and marginal neighborhoods. The paper concludes that, if public support of cultural expression is justified on its promotion of social justice, these sectors would likely provide the best opportunities for addressing this goal.
  • Publication
    Gauging the Informal Arts Sector Metropolitan Philadelphia, 2004
    (2005-10-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan C; Zaman, Mehreen
    The uncertain state of the traditional nonprofit has sparked interest in unincorporated cultural associations to maintain the vitality of the cultural sector. Despite increasing interest in and qualitative study of the role of the unincorporated groups and individuals in cultural production and participation, there are no data that allow assessment of their importance to the overall cultural sector. In this paper, SIAP takes an alternative strategy for estimating the informal arts sector. The authors use a representative sample of artists to ask what proportion of artists’ professional activities takes place in the for-profit, nonprofit, and informal sectors. The analysis is based on a sample of 270 artists in the Philadelphia metropolitan area interviewed during 2004. The team found that a large share of the sample’s professional activities did indeed occur in what might be called the informal cultural sector; and that the importance of this sector varied by discipline, age, and ethnicity of the artist. The informal arts sector is likely to be a major agenda item for cultural research in the years to come. If nothing else, this paper demonstrates that researchers can use quantitative methods to expand our understanding of the informal sector. It also holds out the promise that the research would contribute to a more complex and variegated portrait of informal cultural engagement and its place in the ecology of urban culture.
  • Publication
    Culture vs. Policy: Introduction and Summary of the Research
    (2005-10-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan C
    This summary provides a descriptive overview of SIAP’s research from 2003 to 2005 in metropolitan Philadelphia. The authors argue that the papers produced by the Dynamics of Culture project document an early 21st century American city with a flourishing cultural sector--a community infrastructure full of vitality and promise, in spite of social policy, not because of it.
  • Publication
    "Natural" Cultural Districts and Public Policy
    (2012-06-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan C
    This paper reports on research on the development of “natural” cultural districts—clusters of cultural resources that emerge in particular neighborhoods as a bottom-up, unplanned process. It uses data on Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Seattle to answer the following questions: What social and economic benefits are associated with cultural clusters? What are the social mechanisms that connect community benefits to cultural clusters? How do we define “natural” cultural districts? Are there particular neighborhood features that foster formation of these cultural clusters? Can we distinguish particular types of “natural” cultural districts? What kinds of policy interventions are appropriate for different types of districts? The analysis suggests that although we can demonstrate strong connections between the concentration of cultural assets and a wide variety of social benefits, economic spillover tends to be concentrated in places that are already advantaged. Thus, if we pursue strategies that promote creative placemaking purely as a market-based strategy, the outcomes are likely to increase the already growing gap between prosperous and poor residents and between advantaged and disadvantaged parts of the city.
  • Publication
    ‘Natural’ Cultural Districts: Arts Agglomerations in Metropolitan Philadelphia and Implications for Cultural District Planning
    (2005-10-01) Seifert, Susan C; Stern, Mark J
    As older cities and towns retooled to accommodate post-industrialism, cultural districts have become popular strategies to promote tourism, revive downtowns, revitalize neighborhoods, and generally boost the local economy. While entertainment centers are hardly new to urban life, the cultural district as economic stimulus has become increasingly standard equipment in the planners’ toolbox. The typical district is “a well-recognized, labeled, mixed-use area of a city in which a high concentration of cultural facilities serves as the anchor or attraction.” Thus the cultural district is a strategy for simulating arts “consumption” and “event-related spending”, but planning largely ignores the production needs of artists and cultural providers. Generally, local government takes the initiative to define and create a cultural district through planning, legislation, and fiscal policy. Over 100 communities across the U.S. have planned cultural districts. The widespread practice of using of older, top-down models of urban policy, however, does not recognize the need to link cultural strategies with new urban realities and new models of social policy. This paper draws on SIAP's research on metropolitan Philadelphia to look at an alternative approach—that is, the dynamics of arts agglomeration or what the authors call "natural" cultural districts.
  • Publication
    Knight Creative Communities Initiative (KCCI) Evaluation: Final Report
    (2008-07-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan C
    The objective of the Knight Creative Communities Initiative (KCCI) was to promote community transformation based on Richard Florida’s creative class theory to stimulate economic development. KCCI was implemented by Richard Florida's consulting firm, Creative Class Group, in Charlotte, North Carolina; Duluth, Minnesota/Superior, Wisconsin; and Tallahassee, Florida. The KCCI final evaluation report begins with an overview of the logic of KCCI. It then examines participants’ experience of the initiative, from March 2007 to March 2008, using a chronological structure: the selection of community catalysts, the initial two-day seminar, the organization of the action teams, and the history of the teams. The report concludes with a framework for evaluating the medium- and long-term impacts of KCCI on the three communities.
  • Publication
    Artists and Their Social Networks, Metropolitan Philadelphia, 2004
    (2005-10-01) Seifert, Susan C; Stern, Mark J; Zaman, Mehreen
    This paper reports the rationale, methodology, and findings of SIAP's Philadelphia Area Artists Survey 2004. SIAP undertook the survey as a first step toward the documentation and understanding of the region’s artists and their social networks. The study had four objectives: to address a gap in the literature by doing an empirical study of the social networks of artists; to document the informal dimensions of artists’ networking in metropolitan Philadelphia; to test methodologies to identify the universe of artists in the region and analyze their network strategies; and, finally, to advance SIAP’s understanding of the role of the artist in the contemporary city. The report documents two types of networking activity: networks that are part of everyday professional life, including nuts and bolts as well as inspiration for the creative process; and networks to get work, that is, projects or positions (over a 12-month period) that tap their capacity as an artist. The picture of social networks presented in this paper differs from the image based on the organization-centered perspective that has dominated policy research. An artist-centered view redraws boundaries of the cultural sector and recasts definitions of informal vs. formal and internal vs. external networks. The findings begin to address the empirical shortfall in research and offer new perspectives on the nature and function of artists’ social networks.
  • Publication
    Cultivating "Natural" Cultural Districts
    (2007-09-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan C
    This policy brief—a product of the SIAP Culture and Community Revitalization Collection, in collaboration with Reinvestment Fund---uses existing research on urban culture and community arts to make a case for culture-based neighborhood revitalization. The brief defines and illustrates "natural" cultural districts, highlights the synergy of social diversity and cultural engagement, and draws lessons of grassroots cultural clusters for community building and urban policy.