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Cultivating “Natural” Cultural Districts

Brief authored by Susan Seifert and Mark Stern, University of Pennsylvania’s Social Impact of the Arts Project, uses existing research on urban culture and community arts to make a case for culture-based revitalization from the bottom up. This brief highlights a particular kind of social network—the geographically-defined networks created by the presence of a density of cultural assets in particular neighborhoods. Because “natural” cultural districts evolve through the self-organized efforts of local players, the challenge for policy-makers is how to do sensitive social investment that maximizes community benefits.

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