August 9, 2017

CultureBlocks is a collaboration between The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture, and Creative Economy (OACCE), and the University of Pennsylvania Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP). This ArtPlace funded project’s purpose was to develop a web-based tool for displaying Philadelphia’s cultural assets in ways that are useful to artists and cultural organizations, public officials, development professionals, and the general public. It successfully launched in 2012 and is a free mapping tool that supports people making decisions about place and creativity in Philadelphia.

This project was inspired by a prior research collaboration between TRF, SIAP, and the Rockafeller Foundation. Creativity and Neighborhood Development: Strategies for Community Investment demonstrates that the intrinsic value of arts and culture can be a key ingredient in neighborhood revitalization by nurturing a wide range of local assets, building social capital, and promoting entrepreneurial and civic growth.

Higher Ed’s role: This project involved a higher ed partner - the University of Pennsylvania Social Impact of the Arts. One aspect of the project’s research agenda was to use SIAP’s cultural database to examine changes in Philadelphia’s cultural sector over the past fifteen years. In order to explore questions around clustering of cultural assets, SIAP developed two ways of classifying cultural districts. Read more here > 

Learn more about the process of creating CultureBlocks on ArtPlace’s blog >

This is a University resource: 
Resources that specifically relate to Creative Placemaking work on university campuses. Want to get involved? Contact us at

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