Title of Dataset

NEA Arts & Livability Indicators


Various. See the Validating Arts & Livability Indicators (VALI) Study: Results and Recommendations


A large variety of data sources can be used to track arts and livability indicators. The briefs and county data tables presented in this ADP draw from the following four sources: American Community Survey (Census Bureau); County Business Patterns (Census Bureau); Uniform Crime Reports (FBI); and Occupational Employment Survey (OES).

Geographic Coverage

Various, including counties and Census tracts

Research Topic

Relationships of creative placemaking to community livability outcomes

Notable Features

  • Indicators assess changes in outcomes relevant to creative placemaking practitioners, across four dimensions:
    • Residents’ attachment to community;
    • Quality of life;
    • Local economic conditions;
    • Arts and cultural activity
  • Both for creative placemaking practitioners and the general public, the indicators offer rich contextual variables pertaining to communities affected by such projects. The indicators can support in-depth studies or program evaluations to trace short- and long-term changes in outcomes captured through the national datasets.
  • Product also includes a database of local indicators tracking outcomes relevant to the arts and livability. The database was generated by the NEA’s contractor, the Urban Institute, and lists indicators and data sources that may prove effective for individual communities, but which are not uniformly available at the national level.


Through issue briefs and data tables, this Arts Data Profile complements and illustrates selected arts-and-livability indicators discussed in the 2014 NEA report, The Validating Arts & Livability Indicators (VALI) Study: Results and Recommendations.


  • The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) promotes creative place-making with its flagship Our Town initiative and its predecessor, the Mayor’s Institute on City Design 25th Anniversary initiative (MICD25).
  • Between 2011 and 2014, the NEA awarded 251 Our Town grants in 50 states and the District of Columbia. These grants have reached 200 communities ranging in size from small towns such as Conneaut Lake, PA (population 600) to large cities like Phoenix, AZ (population 1.5 million).
  • The NEA developed a framework of arts-and-livability indicators to promote constructive thinking about how these dimensions might be reflected in data already being collected. Tracking these publicly reported data is expected to provide reasonably reliable indicators of changes in a community’s livability. While such changes cannot be seen as having been caused by the creative place-making effort, they could be examined in combination with local or project-specific data to better understand a project’s effects, or they could be used as a starting point for more rigorous project evaluation.

Note: Given the complexity of the data, it may be necessary to recruit a skilled analyst to assist practitioners in employing the NEA Arts & Livability Indicators.