Communities, Culture, and Capabilities

Document Type

Conference Paper




This paper reports early findings of a two-year study of social wellbeing, neighborhood transformation, and the arts that builds on the CultureBlocks Philadelphia research and expands the approach to other cities. The team used new data on Philadelphia to investigate ways in which two capabilities—economic wellbeing and social connection—influence four others—social stress, personal health, school effectiveness, and security. The appendix provides preliminary comparative data on four cities under study: Philadelphia, Austin, New York City, and Seattle.

The paper was prepared for the Human Development and Capabilities Association September 2014 conference in Athens, Greece on the theme “Human Development in Times of Crisis: Renegotiating Social Justice.”


SIAP’s research toward a multi-city study of social wellbeing, neighborhood transformation, and the arts—including update and refinement of the Philadelphia social wellbeing index as a policy tool—was undertaken with support by the Surdna Foundation.



Date Posted: 28 April 2017