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The Center’s Work

The Center’s work is organized around four topic areas:


Image of CCI logoWe focus on helping commercial corridors in low-income areas develop robust retail mixes. We also examine how minority and immigrant entrepreneurship contributes to community revitalization. MORE...


Image of CCI logoThis area builds on ongoing research in the MacArthur Foundation-funded Building Successful Resilience research network. We focus here on the impacts of globalization and restructuring on local communities, the links between workforce and economic development, the suburbanization of poverty, and the ability of community-based organizations to innovate in problem-solving. MORE...


Image of CCI logoThis area focuses on community cultural and social seams: public places that support diverse communities, great streets, and the role of the arts in community development. MORE...


Image of CCI logoThis area looks at the feasibility of building infill housing, the potential for more equitable development patterns, and the factors that create stable mixed-income neighborhoods. MORE...


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Image of the Temescal area


Arts and Community 

In recent years, there has been growing interest in the arts, culture, and community revitalization among city planners, policy makers, funders, and scholars from a range of disciplines. A number of scholars have argued that the arts are correlated to gentrification ­the displacement of lower-income residents in urban neighborhoods caused by increases in rent. However, a considerable body of new research suggests that cultural institutions based in low-income neighborhoods, including a host of non-arts amenities that allow for cultural participation and creative expression, such as community centers, churches, and parks, enhance community stability and are catalysts for change without displacement. CCI is researching the relationship between the arts and neighborhood change. We started by creating a database of non-profit arts organizations, artists, and art-related events in two low-income Oakland neighborhoods. Through secondary sources, observation, and interviews, we are learning about their activities, audiences, and networks and beginning to identify ways in which the local arts ecology helps strengthen the community. How do community-based arts organizations and events help shape neighborhood consciousness and subsequent change? What makes them effective agents for community building? What kind of relationships enable them to thrive and what types of facilities do they use? How do their activities relate to the city's “official” arts and culture policies? And finally, how might funders, government officials, developers, and city planners think about and support the arts in the context of sustainable and equitable neighborhood revitalization?

© 2012 Center for Community Innovation at the Institute of Urban & Regional Development at UC Berkeley