School of Social Policy & Practice

Founded as one of the nation's earliest schools of social work in the United States, the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) has trained social work professionals for over 110 years. In the 21st century, its scope expanded to include public policy and nonprofit leadership as natural extensions of applied social research. Today, SP2 offers masters programs in social work, public policy, and nonprofit leadership; doctoral programs in social welfare and clinical social work, and a wide range of certificate programs and specializations. The school is home to several research centers, including the Center for Carceral Communities, the Center for Guaranteed Income Research, the Center for High Impact Philanthropy, the Center for Social Impact Strategy, the Center for Social Mobility and Prosperity, the Field Center for Children's Policy, Practice and Research, and the Ortner Center on Violence and Abuse. Faculty and graduate work is rooted in social justice, community care, and advancing equity-based policies worldwide.

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Now showing 1 - 9 of 9
  • Publication
    Crane Arts: Financing Artistsâ Workspaces
    (2007-08-01) The Reinvestment Fund; Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP)

    This brief tells the story of Crane Arts, the conversion of Crane Plumbing Companyâ s 1905 factory and warehouse in Philadelphia's Old Kensington, to affordable artist studio and gallery space. In spring 2004 two artists and a developer--Crane Arts LLCâ purchased the property and began the challenge of rehabilitation of a century-old factory in a former manufacturing district. Along the way, they heard about TRFâ s lending activities, including commercial real estate in urban neighborhoods. The Crane Arts project was a perfect fit for TRF, which views the arts as critical to the health of a community and invests in projects that have the potential to catalyze revitalization in Philadelphia neighborhoods. The success of Crane Arts has encouraged TRF to finance other artist centers in Philadelphia.

  • Publication
    From Creative Economy to Creative Society
    (2008-01-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan C
    Public policy promoting the creative economy has two serious flaws: one, a misperception of culture and creativity as a product of individual genius rather than collective activity; and, two, a willingness to tolerate social dislocation in exchange for urban vitality or competitive advantage. This brief recaps current culture and revitalization research and policy and proposes a new model—a neighborhood based creative economy—that has the potential to move the 21st century city toward shared prosperity and social integration.
  • Publication
    Migrants, Communities, and Culture
    (2008-01-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan C; Vitiello, Domenic
    New immigrants have already changed Philadelphia's cultural scene—particularly in urban neighborhoods. This brief uses three types of evidence— a small-area database of cultural participation, a survey of residents of North Philadelphia and Camden, NJ, and a survey of artists living or working in the metropolitan area—to explore migrant cultural engagement. Taken together, SIAP’s evidence on artists and cultural participants paints a portrait of migrants and foreign-born residents who are positively oriented toward cultural expression but frustrated by institutional, spatial, and socio-economic barriers. Can culture serve as a means of linking new Philadelphians to other social institutions?
  • Publication
    Culture's Contribution to Social Wellbeing
    (2014-10-01) University of Pennsylvania Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP),; Reinvestment Fund,
    This brief presents the research team’s rationale for the measurement of social wellbeing and its approach to documenting the cultural ecology and assessing the vitality of Philadelphia neighborhoods.
  • Publication
    Cultivating “Natural” Cultural Districts
    (2007-09-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan C
    This brief presents the concept of “natural” cultural district as a vehicle to translate grassroots culture into urban revitalization. The term is both descriptive and analytical. Descriptively, a “natural” cultural district identifies a neighborhood that has spawned a density of assets—organizations, businesses, participants, and artists—that sets it apart from other neighborhoods. Analytically, cultural clusters are of interest because of density’s side effects. They can build community, spur cultural production, and attract new services and residents. The challenge is how to encourage these geographically-defined social networks without snuffing out the spark that makes them distinctive. “Natural” cultural districts must be cultivated. To do so, we mush first understand their ecology and how they fit into the contemporary urban arts scene.
  • Publication
    Culture's Contribution to Social Wellbeing & Neighborhood Vitality
    (2016-02-01) University of Pennsylvania Social Impact of the Arts Project; Reinvestment Fund

    In the fall of 2014, building on their work in Philadelphia, Penn's Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP) and Reinvestment Fund began to develop a policy tool to assess how culture contributes to social wellbeing in New York City neighborhoods. This brief is a summary of the project rationale--that is, why and how to measure social wellbeing--and its potential to guide policy toward more equitable and livable communities.

  • 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.
  • Publication
    Types of “Natural” Cultural Districts: Opportunities for Policy Development
    (2010-06-01) Stern, Mark J
    This policy brief outlines SIAP’s concept of “natural” cultural district, three types of districts, and different policy strategies for each. The material is a synthesis of previous research and provides a conceptual framework for the three-city study of "natural" cultural districts.
  • Publication
    The Power of Place-Making: A Summary of Creativity and Neighborhood Development: Strategies for Community Investment
    (2007-01-01) Nowak, Jeremy
    This document offers a summary of The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) publication, Creativity and Neighborhood Development: Strategies for Community Investment, which lays out steps for building an integrative vision of creativity and neighborhood revitalization. The monograph, by Reinvestment Fund CEO Jeremy Nowak, focuses on the ways cultural activity and redevelopment have complementary and in some ways intertwined missions and offers a framework for flexible investment and funding that can spur imaginative and substantive neighborhood renewal.