Community Development Investment Review

December 2014

Measuring the Economic and Social Impacts of Cultural Organizations


Evaluation of the impacts on quality of life and the social structure of communities is more difficult, and three approaches that have been used can potentially measure these impacts. Changes in the value of residential property, changes in survey responses concerning subjective wellbeing, and analysis of local social networks all show promise in this regard. As community development practitioners continue in their efforts to understand the impacts of these organizations, it is essential to choose some approaches that can be applied repeatedly over time. Establishing a baseline of these measures that characterize a community, and then tracking the changes as new organizations open or expand will provide the best approach for measuring the full range of benefits that cultural organizations can bring to our neighborhoods and cities.

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