The Social Wellbeing of New York City's Neighborhoods: The Contribution of Culture and the Arts

The Social Wellbeing of New York City's Neighborhoods: The Contribution of Culture and the Arts

Although culture and the arts contribute to the social well-being of New York City residents and are a bright spot in many disadvantaged neighborhoods, they tend to be unequally distributed across the five boroughs, a report from the University of Pennsylvania's Social Impact of the Arts Project, in collaboration with the Reinvestment Fund, finds. Funded in part by the Surdna Foundation and the New York City Cultural Agenda Fund at the New York Community Trust, the study, The Social Wellbeing of New York City's Neighborhoods: The Contribution of Culture and the Arts (149 pages, PDF), analyzed the relationship between neighborhood cultural assets and indicators of health, personal security, and school effectiveness in the five boroughs, as well as social connection, political and cultural voice, and the public environment. According to the report, cultural assets — for-profit and nonprofit arts organizations, employed artists, and arts participants — are concentrated in wealthier neighborhoods, where higher cultural asset levels correlate with improved measures of social well-being. The report also found that in low-income areas, where the likelihood of poor health and personal insecurity are higher, social connections fostered by cultural assets play a significant role in mitigating those risks.