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Map your assets...especially creative ones.

Maps are powerful. Asking spatial questions about the assets in our communities is crucial to making connections, spurring development, and filling gaps. Philly is leveraging dynamic mapping to visualize and cultivate their creative community.

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The inspiration? 
The power of mapping and Asset-Based Community Development to visualize and cultivate creative cities. 

Someone who's doing it right? 
Philly. They recognize the power of pairing spatial tools (data-rich, dynamic maps) and a multitude of stakeholders (artists, real estate developers, investors, government, educational institutions, design firms) to proactively cultivate their creative community. First, their Creative Assets Map will analyze the cross-section between cultural assets and social and community indicators and create a "livability index" for vibrant social and cultural neighborhoods. Then, they will leverage this information to invest new resources in capital and cultural development. Lastly, they will use the platform to network creative artists, business owners, activists and organizations in the community. 

Their model promises to be a beacon for other cities looking to proactively cultivate creative communities.


The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), in collaboration with the Social Impact of the Arts Project at the University of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, continues to examine the ways creative activity and cultural engagement play a role in neighborhood economic development and what we call the Architecture of Community.

“Given their interrelated webs of universities, cultural institutions, design firms and culturally diverse population, all of which help attract creative workers and spur creative content, cities – like Philadelphia – are naturally positioned to take advantage of this sector. Yet, if we develop a more comprehensive view of how creative activity, particularly community-based arts and culture, interacts within cities, we can stimulate even more integrated and effective action in the development of distressed urban places.”

Creativity and Neighborhood Development, Strategies for Community Development, Jeremy Nowak


As a City agency, the OACCE wears many hats – we are a funder, a producer of art programs, a project facilitator and a cheerleader for arts, culture and creativity. We see this project as a way to provide some answers to our own questions, as well as those questions posed to us by our constituents. How can we help tell the story of Philadelphia’s creative renaissance? What tools need to be developed to support innovation in this sector? How can we encourage investment and smart growth? The online tool that we will create will help us examine the ongoing relationships between the arts and socio-economic data, between the arts and our neighborhoods, and between the arts and the future of our City. And yes, Mayor Nutter, there will be a lot of maps.


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Thanks for the great examples. Anyone know of existing Detroit mapping projects? Here's one from the New York times:

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