How US cultural districts reshape neighbourhoods

Douglas S. Noonan
2013 Cultural Trends  
Cultural districts are an increasingly popular and important element of both urban and cultural experiences in the United States. Cultural districts get invoked as a tool for revitalising neighbourhoods and regions, cultivating arts and cultural resources, and other goals. This article briefly describes the phenomenon of cultural districts in the United States, reviews some claims made about their impacts, and provides evidence of districts' effects. Neighourhood-level statistical analyses
more » ... ify socioeconomic trends in neighbourhoods affected by districts. The results reflect the heterogeneity in cultural districts and in cities' experiences with them. The findings inform policies supporting creative placemaking in general and cultural districts as a system. HOW U.S. CULTURAL DISTRICTS RESHAPE NEIGHBOURHOODS Increasingly popular and important in urban and cultural experiences, Cultural districts serve purposes like revitalising communities, sustainable economic development, and cultivating arts and cultural resources (Brooks and Kushner 2001) . The wave of cultural districts has kept far ahead of objective analysis of their effectiveness and sustainability. This article reviews some claims made about districts' impacts and provides more comprehensive and robust evidence of whether cultural districts tend to live up to the hype. In particular, demographic trends of neighbourhood in and near districts are compared before and after districts' formation. The results are mixed, like cities' experiences with districts. The findings point to consistent relationships in some cases (e.g., income and employment growth) and, importantly, the absence of relationships in others (e.g., gentrification). The analysis also highlights key challenges for future empirical research.
doi:10.1080/09548963.2013.817652 fatcat:a4pswxplonhttdjkanfqhc3zze