Culture and Social Wellbeing in New York City

Document Type

Research Report




This report presents the conceptual framework, data and methodology, and findings of a two-year study of culture and social wellbeing in New York City by SIAP with Reinvestment Fund. Building on their work in Philadelphia, the team gathered data from City agencies, borough arts councils, and cultural practitioners to develop a 10-dimension social wellbeing framework—which included construction of a cultural asset index—for every neighborhood in the five boroughs. The research was undertaken between 2014 and 2016.

The social wellbeing tool enables a variety of analyses: the distribution of opportunity across the city; identification of areas with concentrated advantage, concentrated disadvantage, as well as “diverse and struggling” neighborhoods with both strengths and challenges; and analysis of the relationship of “neighborhood cultural ecology” to other features of a healthy community.


The Culture and Social Wellbeing in NYC project was undertaken in collaboration with Reinvestment Fund, a community development financial institution, and with support by the Surdna Foundation, the New York City Cultural Agenda Fund in the New York Community Trust, and the University of Pennsylvania. The research was conducted between 2014 and 2016.



Date Posted: 09 March 2017