The Arts, Bohemian Scenes, and Income

Yasemin Arikan, Terry Nichols Clark, Douglas S. Noonan, and George Tolley

Where and how might efforts to revitalize neighbourhoods by integrating or enhancing the arts succeed? Exploring the impacts of art establishments on neighbourhood income is valuable for learning where and how policies and programmes to spur community development, for example, creative placemaking, arts districts, or cultural quarters,might be effective in achieving their goals.

One dramatic finding is that more bohemian/hip neighbourhoods tend to have less income, contradicting the accounts from Jane Jacobs, Richard Florida and others. Arts and bohemia generate opposing effects, which emerge if we study not a few cases like Greenwich Village, but use more careful measures and larger number of cases. Some arts factors that distinctly influence neighbourhood income include the number of arts establishments; type and range of arts establishments; levels of disadvantage in a neighbourhood; and specific pre­ and co­existing neighbourhood amenities. Rock, gospel and house music appeal to distinct audiences. Our discussion connects this vitalizing role for arts activity to broader community development dynamics. These overall results challenge the view that the arts simply follow, not drive, wealth, and suggest that arts-led strategies can foster neighbourhood revitalization across a variety of income, ethnic, and other contexts.

Source: Article Abstract & Introduction