Collections > UNC Chapel Hill Undergraduate Honors Theses Collection > A New Direction in Evaluating the Outcomes of Creative Placemaking: Arts Ecosystems, Vibrancy, and Social Media
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The arts play a large role in our world, impacting all types of people, and all sectors of the economy. From individual artists to large nonprofit institutions, the arts live within interconnected systems. In recent years, there has been a trend in arts funding called “creative placemaking,” which funds arts projects designed to physically place arts and culture in the center of communities and urban planning strategies. Expanding upon the concept of “placemaking” coined by Jane Jacobs in the 1960s, creative placemaking attempts to get actual community stakeholders—community members, grassroots organizations, and specifically the artists in a community—to help plan and execute changes in the places they live. The benefits of creative placemaking are measured in both economic and noneconomic ways. Funding agencies, however, have tended to use mostly economic measures to gauge the impact of creative placemaking and the arts. Analysts saw economic change as a representation of well-being: the more financially well-off this arts organization and its surrounding area become, the better they are doing. My research focuses on understanding a new way to evaluate creative placemaking impacts—the well-being of a place, also called its vibrancy. Indeed, the arts ecosystem, the interactions amongst producers and consumers of arts communities, has become more complex to include people communicating and engaging with the arts on digital platforms—a space to share attitudes and behaviors on arts projects. One effective medium to evaluate vibrancy of a place, I propose, is through the data we can collect on social media. In this paper, I outline the need for a new way of thinking about the impact of creative placemaking projects and make a case for collecting social media data to measure vibrancy, the well-being of a place.