Spatial Analysis Project:

In addition to standard geographic breakdowns, recent projects from think-tanks and academics have highlighted socially or culturally-defined geographies in the U.S. - for example, looking at small rust-belt cities, classic downtowns, “gayborhoods”, working-class communities, and “Golden Zip Codes” (America’s wealthiest zip codes). We would like to build geospatial files (layers, shapefiles, a geodatabase) that correspond to seven to ten social geographies and to examine the 120,000+ arts and cultural organizations in the U.S. to see how they “fit” into these geographies.

Additionally, we would like to have these instruments in such a form that we can integrate them into our systems. Our current platform automatically calls out, through APIs, latitude and longitude for each organization with which we work. We would like this project to enable us to know, when a new organization joins DataArts, whether it is located in a downtown, an African-American neighborhood, and/or a gayborhood, etc.

Data available:

  • IRS 990 dataset of all 501c3 arts and cultural organizations
  • DataArts dataset of detailed financial and programmatic data on select organizations
  • Reports mentioned above with definitions of the socially or culturally-defined geographies (defined by municipal boundaries in some cases, by zip codes in others, etc.)

Here are references to three such studies as examples of recent work on socially or culturally-defined geographies:

  • Revitalizing America’s Smaller Legacy Cities: Strategies for Postindustrial Success from Gary to Lowell, Torey Hollingsworth and Alison Goebel, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2017.
  • The Wealthiest ZIP Codes in America, Washington Post Wonkblog, 2015.
  • There Goes the Gayborhood?, Amin Ghazani, Princeton University Press, 2014.

Maps and Reports that will be created:

We would like to see a set of finished maps and statistics that highlighted results from three or four of the socially or culturally-defined geographies. For example, an analysis of the prevalence (or lack thereof) of arts organizations in working-class communities, or a comparison of different “classic downtowns” in the U.S. and the organizations located therein (are the organizations older? are they more or less likely to own their space?), etc. would be welcome additions to discussions and debates in the arts and cultural sector. As noted above, we would also like to have the finished data files provided in such a way that we can integrate them into our current data systems (these are MySQL, PHP, and R systems).

How the maps and reports will be used:

Maps, reports, and their accompanying data files will help DataArts provide better data analysis and comparison reporting for arts and cultural organizations in the U.S. Organizations in DataArts use our comparison reporting system and advocacy reporting system to better understand themselves and their communities.

Currently, advocates for all the theaters in a city or all the arts within a particular city council district can use our system to aggregate data for that district and bring that report to their legislator(s). However, we do not have a way for arts supporters in San Francisco’s Castro district or for the PA Downtown Center to advocate on behalf of their constituents.

Understanding and analyzing data according to socially or culturally-defined geographies will add a welcome dimension to our understanding of arts and culture in the U.S.

Shortlist year 2018
Category Arts & Culture
Until next time

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