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 - 10 of 35
  • Publication
    Understanding neighborhood change: An approach to assessing displacement risk among NYC residents
    (2017-10-01) Goldstein, Ira; Dowdall, Emily; Weidig, Colin
    The SIAP research team has sought to develop methods to assess the complexity of rapid neighborhood change in New York and other U.S. cities. Reinvestment Fund developed an approach to identify locations in New York City where the housing market has changed in a way that residents who have been in a community for several years cannot likely be replaced by people of similar economic means. This paper discusses their method—called Displacement Risk Ratio (DRR)—for identifying areas at risk of displacement (or the inability to replace a resident population over time) based on the gap between housing costs and household income. The paper identifies six patterns in neighborhoods with significant DRR Sales increases as a preliminary typology of change: 1) transitioned from majority black or Hispanic to racially/ethnically diverse; 2) remained predominantly black or Hispanic; 3) remained predominantly white; 4) Asian immigrant neighborhoods; 5) remained diverse; and 6) high residential development areas. The conclusion reviews the potential for use of the DRR method to assess neighborhood change in New York City.
  • 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
    The Dynamics of Cultural Participation: Metropolitan Philadelphia, 1996 - 2004
    (2005-10-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan C
    This paper uses data on over 800,000 cultural participants in 1996 and 2004 to examine changes in patterns of cultural participation over these years. The authors discover a consistent pattern in which areas of metropolitan Philadelphia with a large number of cultural organizations are those most likely to have high rates of participation. The connection between institutional presence and cultural engagement was one of SIAP’s first discoveries in the mid-1990s and remains one of its most durable findings. With respect to change over time, there were also unexpected findings. Participation became more tied to both social class and ethnic diversity. The authors explain this seeming paradox in the context of the “new urban reality”—as ethnic groups became more economically differentiated, high-income, ethnically diverse neighborhoods also became more common. These were now the neighborhoods with the highest rates of cultural participation. Another pattern uncovered in the 1990s—what SIAP called “alternative” participation that linked socially diverse audiences to newer, more experimental cultural production—seemed to wither over the decade. By 2004 the former “alternative” cultural organizations had participation patterns identical to those of more “mainstream” organizations, a trend attributed to the increasing market orientation within the cultural sector.
  • Publication
    Social Networks and Inequality in New York City's Cultural Sector
    (2017-10-01) Stern, Mark J
    This paper uses NYC Department of Cultural Affairs data on grantee program sites to address questions about structural inequality associated with the geography of cultural resources across New York City. The analysis supports and expands SIAP findings documented in its March 2017 report about the geography of culture in New York City. On the one hand, the distribution of program sites across the City is consistent with that of other cultural assets. Program sites tend to reinforce rather than mitigate the shortfall of cultural opportunities in the majority of lower-income neighborhoods. At the same time, it demonstrates that civic clusters—low-income neighborhoods with relatively large numbers of cultural assets—have stronger and more diverse institutional networks. This paper suggests that improving social wellbeing in lower-income neighborhoods requires strengthening both local and regional networks.
  • Publication
    Cultural Participation and Civic Engagement In Five Philadelphia Neighborhoods
    (1998) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan C
    One of SIAP's goals has been to examine the links that connect arts participation to other form of civic engagement. In previous papers, the team used a variety of perspectives--the location of organizations, levels of community participation, observation of behavior and physical traces, and levels of regional cultural participation--to examine this process. This paper uses a community participation survey conducted in five Philadelphia case study neighborhoods to examine links between community participation, community arts participation, and regional arts participation. This paper and other SIAP studies have found that the socio-economic status of a neighborhood is a consistent predictor of residents' level of participation. Yet, the paper also suggests that cultural participation is more complex than either the economic model or the cultural capital theory would predict. A neighborhood’s cultural infrastructure is a stronger predictor of participation than either income or education. Moreover, decisions about cultural participation are closely related to engagement in other types of community activities, such as schools, community groups, and social clubs. Thus neighborhood residents effectively function as connectors between arts and non-arts institutions. The paper documents a strong relationship between neighborhood cultural participation and other forms of community engagement. The fact that residents make connections that remain elusive for organizational leaders suggests an avenue for strengthening institutional networks.
  • Publication
    Homelessness and Child Welfare Services in New York City: Exploring Trends and Opportunites for Improving Outcomes for Children and Youth
    (2007-01-01) Culhane, Dennis P; Park, Jung Min
    For over a decade, national research has shown that many disadvantaged youth and families experience both homelessness and involvement in child welfare services. However, prior to the research summarized here, no population-based research had examined systematically the extent and dynamics by which children and youth experience both of these service systems. This white paper for the New York City Administration for Children's Services (ACS) provides a summary of three studies that looked carefully at how these two important social welfare systems have shared a population, and how our improved understanding of these intersecting systems of care can promote better outcomes and improved quality of life for children and youth.
  • Publication
    Cultural Organizations in the Network Society
    (1999-10-01) Seifert, Susan C; Stern, Mark J
    Community arts programs are embedded in a variety of social networks, including those with institutions, artists, and participants. This paper uses data on the institutional networks for four community arts programs to understand how these programs use social networks. The database for this paper was compiled from organizational reports on their institutional contacts as well as a review of documents and observation. The data were then geocoded and linked to the SIAP’s other organizational databases, including data on the presence of other types of social organizations in their neighborhood. Community arts organizations are under two—often contradictory—pressures. Efforts to “rationalize” their organizational structure often come in conflict with their commitment to serving and engaging communities and neighborhoods. As a result, organizations are forced to be strategic in their choices of contacts, pursuing those that further their interests while reducing those that might sap their resources.
  • Publication
    The Age Structure of Contemporary Homelessness: Risk Period or Cohort Effect?
    (2010-06-01) Culhane, Dennis P; Metraux, Stephen; Bainbridge, Jay
    This paper assesses the age composition of the sheltered homeless population and how the age of this population – both single adults and adults in families – have changed over the past two decades. Data for this study came from administrative records on shelter use in New York City and from the nationwide shelter and general population enumerations in each of the last two decennial census enumerations. Results are presented in a series of figures to illustrate 1) the changes in the age distributions of the homeless population over time; and 2) the age distribution of homeless populations compared to other populations. In the late 1980s, homeless single adults and adults in families were relatively young, with the median age for both being in the late-twenties. Subsequently, however, these household types appear to have diverged, as the birth cohort from which the young single adults had come (born 1954-1965) has continued to be overrepresented in the shelter population, whereas homelessness among adults in families has remained linked to households in the early parenting years (ages 18-23). While the families and the single adults may have experienced some common precipitating factors that led to the emergence of homelessness in the 1980s, the young mothers appear to age out of their risk for homelessness while homelessness among this birth cohort of single adults sustains. Hypotheses are discussed regarding the social and economic factors that may be associated with disproportionate housing instability and homelessness among adults from the latter half of the baby boom cohort. Implications for public policy are considered, including the premature risk of disability, frailty and mortality associated with this cohort.
  • Publication
    Housing Markets and Social Capital: The Role of Participation, Institutions, and Diversity in Neighborhood Transformation
    (2001-06-01) Stern, Mark J
    This paper examines the housing markets described in the Philadelphia Neighborhood Transformation Initiative (NTI), launched by Mayor John Street in April 2001, through the lens of social capital indicators. In SIAP’s view, the lack of hard data on the city's social and human assets made it difficult for NTI or other urban revitalization efforts to evaluate urban assets with the same rigor as urban deficits. The paper uses SIAP data on three categories of assets to examine their potential implications for the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative: social institutions, individual participation, and economic and ethnic diversity. The paper argues that each of the three dimensions measures a different temporal aspect of social capital. Using economic parlance, institutions was proposed as a lagging indicator, participation as a concurrent indicator, and diversity as a leading indicator of social capital. Specifically, the paper sought to assess whether differences in social capital reinforce or cut across housing markets, and whether a social capital perspective could help identify neighborhoods with a better than average chance of succeeding in transforming themselves.
  • Publication
    Art and Social Change: AIDS Activism in Philadelphia
    (1997-02-01) Petty, Mary Stuart
    This study examines the social and political aspects of the AIDS epidemic through the lens of local arts and culture in the city of Philadelphia, asking these questions: What are the social roles of arts production and cultural activities arising in response to the AIDS epidemic? Are the categories of AIDS politics, such as treatment activism and prevention activism, or distinctions among infected populations reflected in cultural production? Is the concept of a “day without art” relevant only to those who count as artists and to their affluent patrons? How have the changing demographics of the epidemic affected AIDS related arts and culture? Does art work to communicate to the public information about the AIDS epidemic? Can art mobilize people and institutions for social change? As the study site, Philadelphia provides an opportunity to extend a social and cultural analysis of the AIDS epidemic to an urban area other than New York or San Francisco. And, while Philadelphia’s proximity to New York City affects all aspects of its relation to the AIDS epidemic (and to its entire arts and cultural scene), AIDS-related activism and culture are embedded in the city’s own history and politics and are certainly worthy of study on their own terms.