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Culture Blocks

Image of culture blocks tool online

CultureBlocks was a free online tool developed for the City of Philadelphia that mapped nonprofit arts and culture groups, “cultural businesses,” public art, galleries, and cultural events. While no longer in operation, for years this tool allowed individuals and organizations to locate activities in their own backyard, while researchers used the aggregate data to identify trends and compelling conclusions about the role that these arts and cultural resources play in stabilizing communities.

The project

This tool helped the City of Philadelphia better and more strategically decide how to invest in its neighborhoods. As former Mayor Michael A. Nutter said in a statement accepting a 2015 Harvard University Bright Idea Award on behalf of the project:

“CultureBlocks is a tremendous resource for all Philadelphians to keep track of the wealth of arts and culture experiences available. Having this information in one place, easily accessible, allows us to make better, more informed decisions around research, planning and investment in our city’s creative economy.”1

Similar tools have been established in other cities, including the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance’s GeoLoom.

Key partners: City of Philadelphia, The Reinvestment Fund,  Social Impact of the Arts Project

  1. PolicyMap. Mapping Arts & Culture; CultureBlocks a Bright Idea!. Retrieved from