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Climate resilience for health care and communities: Strategies and case studies

March 4, 2022

This report provides a strategic framework for building truly climate-resilient health systems and communities, and explores how health care institutions can leverage investments to support equitable decarbonization and build community resilience, health, and wealth. Through case studies, this paper outlines actions health systems can take to improve their ability to adapt and recover from climate-driven service impacts, strengthen long-term sustainability, and support health and equity in the communities they serve.

Rethinking Relevance, Rebuilding Engagement

February 2, 2022

The Culture & Community research series launched with a first wave survey in May of 2020 designed to provide actionable information about changing community needs, contexts, and behaviors to arts and culture organizations during a time of rapid change and uncertainty. This report shares findings from a second wave of the Culture & Community research, collected in May 2021, over a year into the pandemic, and at a point when cases were falling before new variants emerged. This Wave 2 survey tracked changes in key questions from Wave 1 and explored new lines of inquiry. We developed a new series of questions to explore the dynamics of race and identity in cultural engagement, perceptions of systemic racism across the cultural sector, and the roles that Americans want arts and culture organizations to play in addressing social issues. Along with our partners at LaPlaca Cohen and Yancey Consulting, we named the second wave of this initiative Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation to reflect our hope that this difficult period -- one in which the country has faced not just a pandemic but also a long-overdue racial reckoning and intense political polarization -- would be an opportunity for genuine, system-level change.

Tools for Equitable Mobility

December 15, 2021

This guide is meant to advance equity in the transportation field. Across the nation, there is growing recognition that transportation policies and investments have harmed, and been used as tools to marginalize, Black and brown neighborhoods, people with disabilities, and other groups. Initiated and funded by the Barr Foundation, this guide seeks to help public agencies, and the advocates and organizers who influence them, to make decisions that advance transportation equity.This guide reviews six of the nation's leading tools for assessing potential equity impacts of new transportation policy decisions, explains the context and preconditions for the effective use of these tools, and suggests complementary activities. People who work at transportation public agencies at all levels are the primary audiences for this tool, as they have the power and responsibility to change their behavior; advocates, organizers, and community groups can also use this guide to encourage their public agency partners to use the tools profiled here.

Culture & Community in a Time of Transformation: Focus on Massachusetts

December 15, 2021

Culture & Community in a Time of Transformation: Focus on MA aims to connect the cultural sector in Massachusetts with the experiences and needs of Massachusetts communities and audiences during the pandemic and beyond. In this report, we share highlights of the kinds of change and transformation that MA residents want to see in the arts & culture sector, building blocks for a more resilient and relevant sector, and the impacts of online and offline experiences in our cultural lives, among other themes.  This research has been generously supported by the Barr Foundation & it builds upon the national Culture & Community in a Time of Transformation study.In this report, we highlight how Massachusetts residents are similar and different in attitudes, behaviors, and hopes for the arts and culture sector compared to the country as a whole. This research has a robust methodology with more than 8,000 responses collected from MA residents and more than 75,000 responses nationally to this Culture & Community survey conducted in April, 2021.

Quick and Creative Street Projects: Measuring Impact in Mass

December 10, 2021

Cities and towns across Massachusetts are implementing innovations on their streets. Quick and creative projects that prioritize people are having big impacts.These changes are mostly simple: making space for chairs and tables for neighbors to sit and chat, slowing down traffic via cones so kids can play and bike to school, and painting bus lanes for essential workers to travel faster.And a new report with examples and impact data from 23 municipalities over the course of 2020 and 2021 shows that simple changes have big impacts.  

Black Perspectives on Creativity, Trustworthiness, Welcome and Well-Being--Findings From a Qualitative Study

December 9, 2021

Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation: A Special Edition of Culture Track is a collaborative effort to keep the cultural sector in dialogue with its communities and participants during the pandemic and inform deeper equity and justice in the years to come. The project pivoted from examining public attitudes and behaviors in a "time of crisis" in 2020 to doing so in a "time of transformation" in 2021, with a crucial focus around racialized experiences in connection with cultural participation and cultural organizations.The first phase of the research, conducted in Spring 2020, was a large-scale survey intended to inform not just resilience but also innovation and progress toward equity in the cultural sector, and to give the U.S. public a voice in the future of cultural engagement. But that first phase was designed and conducted before the murder of George Floyd ignited a national upswell of anger, sadness, and activism and the Movement for Black Lives began to reshape the discourse around racism in every aspect of American life. In a follow-up statistical analysis of the same (early 2020) data published in December as "Centering the Picture," we and our colleagues explored respondents' experiences in relation to their racial and ethnic identities to highlight and amplify what people of color have been going through and what they would like to see changed in the future. The report revealed some unique experiences and perspectives that Black and African American adults in the U.S. have in relation to cultural engagement, digital connection with arts and culture, and social change. The Slover Linett team, knowing that qualitative methods would be necessary to understand those perspectives in a more nuanced and holistic way, advocated for an additional phase of research in 2021 that would offer a triangulation with — as well as departure point from — the twowave quantitative survey.To that end, and in order to authentically amplify Black voices and stories, we dedicated this qualitative phase of the research solely to Black and African American participants' perspectives, since those viewpoints have historically been excluded or sidelined in most research studies and planning efforts in the cultural field. We intentionally took a broad approach to this inquiry, exploring general dynamics of creativity, trustworthiness, welcome, and community support rather than focusing narrowly on arts and culture organizations and attendance. This allowed us to hear and explore how culture and community experiences and organizations naturally fit into peoples' lives, and it led to rich insights that can inform practice, funding, and policy.

Parents 2021: Going Beyond the Headlines

December 8, 2021

Learning Heroes, in partnership with National PTA, National Urban League, UnidosUS, and Univision, released Parents 2021, our annual nationwide research conducted with K-12 parents, teachers, and, for the first time, principals. This timely research examines the commonalities and differences between mindsets of parents, teachers, and school leaders, and looks at their perceptions of family engagement.

Riding Toward Opportunities: Communities Need Better MBTA Service to Access Jobs

December 1, 2021

*For Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese translations of the executive summary please click 'Download' > 'via Publisher' to visit Conservation Law Foundation's website*This report documents the access to jobs provided by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) in Eastern Massachusetts and how chronic delays reduce that access. It also shows that delays disproportionately undercut economic opportunity for communities of color, low-income communities, and limited English proficient residents compared to white, wealthier, and English-speaking populations.As the MBTA plans to adjust service on buses, trains, and ferries following winter and spring 2021 service cuts and plans to address anticipated budget shortfalls for future fiscal years, access to jobs could be undermined even more. This will have the greatest impact on those riders already hardest hit by delays.

Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation: Key Findings from Wave 2

November 23, 2021

The second wave of the national study, Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation: A Special Edition of Culture Track, includes an even broader frame for culture (from libraries to parks, music venues, and festivals), as well as deeper involvement with small, rural or BIPOC-serving organizations.Culture + Community is a national research initiative aimed at bridging the cultural sector with the experiences and needs of its communities and audiences during the pandemic and beyond. The findings coming out of this survey also aim to provide the field with actionable insights towards becoming more equitable, inclusive spaces and toward a movement of transformation as cultural organizations become more active participants within movements for social and racial justice. In April and May of 2020, we conducted the first wave of research with a large-scale online survey that asked about the experiences, needs, and behaviors of a representative sample of the U.S. population plus a large sample of people on the contact-lists of more than 650 cultural organizations around the country.In this second wave of research, we broadened the kinds of organizations in our sample by actively inviting new organizations from categories of institutions who were underrepresented in our Wave 1 work: BIPOC-serving organizations, cultural organizations located in rural parts of the country, festivals (film, food, crafts, music), libraries, for-profit arts, and national and city parks. We also re-invited all 653 organizations from the first wave of the study to participate again in this second wave of research.

CultureHouse Peabody Impact Report

November 15, 2021

In the late days of May, 2021, curiosity arose on Peabody's Main Street as passersby began to see the signs of something different in a downtown storefront—warm lighting, comfortable seating, and bold printed letters reading "What is CultureHouse?"On June 1st, bistro tables and chairs lined the sidewalk out front as community members trickled into the newly-opened CultureHouse Peabody to find out what the buzz was all about. Brightly colored art stretched on canvases of all sizes filled the once-white walls. Board games and children's books lined the shelves that once held shoes from Jovi, the consignment shop that was occupying the space.During our month on Main Street, we opened our doors to the public—acting as a community living room and a safe space to return to public gatherings after nearly fourteen months of living through a global pandemic. We hosted events and collaborated with community members—sharing our goal of creating a more vibrant downtown. Through conversations and observations, we gained invaluable insights and cultivated an amazing community in Peabody.Our deepest gratitude goes to our advisory group, donors, community partners, volunteers, and staff who collectively made this project possible. We are grateful to Emily Cooper, whose unwavering optimism and eagerness to make downtown more vibrant has been a critical driving force in bringing the CultureHouse concept to Peabody. We owe a very special thank you to Jennifer Novia, who graciously allowed us to borrow her beautiful space at 86 Main Street. Finally, thank you to the Peabody community and government for welcoming us into your city with open minds and supporting the project in countless ways.Over the five short weeks we were open to the public, we observed how the space was used, opened minds to new ways of using public space, and gained valuable insight into needs and potential opportunities in Peabody. We hope that our findings, analyzed in this report, will build on current successes in the city and offer Peabody additional ways of becoming a more vibrant and lively city!

Winter Places 2.0: A Design Guide and Report on Winter Placemaking

November 11, 2021

The past two years have presented a series of unimaginable financial, social and health challenges for communities across the globe. A continuing global pandemic forced the closures of businesses, the physical separation of people and all of us to grapple with the idea that outdoors was safer than indoors with a virus spread through the air around us. While none of us had ever lived through something like this before, communities across the country and around the globe got to work, supporting their communities by opening streets, granting permission to replace street parking with dining setups, establishing shared community dining spaces and much more. Creative projects were now embraced by public and private sector in a bid to keep people safe while allowing their communities to find opportunities to stay socially connected and local businesses to remain open and solvent throughout the pandemic.The winter of 2020 presented a unique set of challenges, one that required even more planning and support than the summer and fall of 2020. With the virus still raging cold weather communities had to think quickly to figure out ways to provide their communities a safe, outdoor, inviting space to connect with friends and neighbors while also providing the opportunity to support local businesses through what is already one of the more difficult times of the year. In the fall of 2020 we released a Winter Places Guide with creative concepts and ideas aimed at supporting communities around the world in their efforts to get people outdoors in their towns, supporting local small businesses in the process. The guide was downloaded over 3,000 times by individuals and organizations from across the US, Canada, Europe and Asia and we heard incredible feedback from Mayors, Main Street Directors, Town Planners, residents and artists inspired to get their communities outdoors in the winter months.Thanks to a funding partnership with Boston based Barr Foundation, we were able to support and fund twelve community winter placemaking projects across Massachusetts that were inspired by ideas in the Winter Places guide. These placemaking projects were led by some incredible cross-sector, public/private partnerships within each community and were designed, implemented and programmed alongside area businesses, residents and with the support and guidance of local boards of health. Though many delays were encountered based upon local Covid-19 conditions on the ground in each community, each project drew hundreds, if not thousands of area residents into the local commercial districts, giving residents a space to gather safely and businesses the opportunity to have foot traffic again during a traditionally difficult time of year, made even more difficult by the pandemic related restrictions. Nearly 100 local artists and craftspeople were employed for the implementation of these projects and close to 250 Massachusetts small businesses participated directly in this winter programming experience.The following guide includes detailed project reports on each campaign funded across Massachusetts as part of our program with Barr Foundation, resources produced during last years Winter Places program and information on how you can get support to activate your community during the coming winter. We hope this guide serves not only to inspire you to embrace winter outdoors in your community but provides practical tips to help get you there as we continue to work together to find creative ways to build community, foster new relationships and support our local economies in a changing pandemic environment.

Art Is Work: Policies to Support Creative Workers

October 19, 2021

This report examines the role artists and other creative workers play in contributing to modern society and it highlights the lack of policy measures supporting them, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has impacted jobs and sales related to the arts. To support creative workers, the report outlines four key principles: (1) Include artists in federal policy-making decisions; (2) Recognize how creative work happens, through the investment of time and labor; (3) make equity a central feature of grant-making and other forms of support; and (4) Think Locally and share nationally, so that creative endeavors, which are by nature local, do not become siloed.