Culture and Social Wellbeing in New York City—2014-2017

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This presentation was prepared to accompany Mark Stern’s discussion of the conceptual framework, data and methods, findings, implications, and policy impacts of research undertaken between 2014 and 2017 on the relationship of culture to social wellbeing in New York City. The concepts of neighborhood cultural ecosystem, social wellbeing, and civic engagement provide the rationale for the study of culture and social justice. Data and methods involved are: development of a citywide cultural asset database; construction of a multi-dimensional model of social wellbeing at the neighborhood level; and interviews with cultural and community practitioners to add depth to the quantitative analyses. Findings related to the geography of inequality and gaps in neighborhood cultural ecology suggest opportunities for public investment and philanthropy. The research has had policy uptake by the Mayor’s Office of Operations’ OneNYC (The Plan for a Strong and Just City), NYC Department of Cultural Affairs’ first comprehensive cultural plan (CreateNYC: A Cultural Plan for All New Yorkers, July 2017), and in establishment of an interagency Culture Cabinet.


Professor Mark Stern’s lecture, given on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, kicked off the Penn School of Social Policy & Practice 2017-2018 Speaker Series.



Date Posted: 07 March 2018