Building Capital: The Value of Place

Standing in a courtyard by the Jacob Riis Houses
Credit: ArtBridge

From municipal bonds to affordable housing tax credits, highway construction to park development, the flow of financial capital underpins the design and function of the built environment, shaping who has access to opportunity—and who does not.

Building Capital: The Value of Place is a multiyear investigation into how different forms of capital—financial, cultural, community—determine quality of place and quality of life in New York. Launching in summer 2022, the series aims to equip community and cultural organizations confronting or spearheading neighborhood change with practical resources, know-how, and a supportive peer network as they work to reverse decades of chronic disinvestment.

Elevating the role of cultural anchors and community-driven solutions for promoting equitable development, the series will address two primary themes:

  • How a combination of financial, cultural, and community assets can mitigate chronic disinvestment and legacies of discriminatory policy and planning practices in communities of color; and
  • How place, race, and access determine quality of life in neighborhoods across the five boroughs.

Building Capital: The Value of Place is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and presented in partnership with Bloomberg Connects.

text saying national endowment for the arts

Program Activities

Making PlaceNeighborhood Spotlights
A series of 360-degree spotlights exploring how communities are evolving to strengthen connections between people and place at the neighborhood level, featuring programs and activations that bring neighborhood groups together in new ways and with new understandings of their own local communities as well as others across the city that might provide peer-support in the form of learnings or inspiration. These programs will be realized by working closely with local stakeholders and community members to feature resident voices who are knowledgeable about the history, culture, and infrastructure that collectively “make place” in their neighborhood.

Community Workshops
Workshops across the five boroughs convening local stakeholders to invite participatory neighborhood activation investigate investment sources and community design strategies led by cultural actors/artists. Workshops culminate in participatory neighborhood activation.

Building Capital Fellow
A year-long, paid professional opportunity for an emerging leader from underrepresented communities to lead research, content co-creation, and program design and implementation.

OHNY Weekend
Building Capital is leveraging OHNY Weekend’s extensive citywide platform through local engagement and co-creation with artists, historians, experts, and other community organizations who have been historically underrepresented in the festival lineup.

Partners

Building Capital is produced by Open House New York in partnership with leaders and community-based organizations at the forefront of community, cultural, and economic development in New York City. Through partnerships with community leaders like LISC NYC, Building Capital will explore the role of capital in determining quality of place and quality of life in New York.

More Building Capital partners will soon be announced. If your organization would like to join this effort, please contact Rowan Wu at rowan@ohny.org.

Steering Committee and Advisors

A Steering Committee and Advisors comprised of leaders in community development and cultural, educational, and financial institutions are shaping the Building Capital series. Together, the Steering Committee and Advisors form a powerful network of individuals who will harness deep subject matter expertise, and who themselves represent diverse communities that OHNY seeks to learn from—and with—through this investigation. Stay tuned for more information about who we’re working with on this series.

About Urban Systems

Urban Systems is a themed series investigating the forces that shape New York City. The series offers an insider’s look at economic, environmental, technological, and cultural shifts transforming the city’s infrastructure and systems, both natural and constructed. Though programs that educate and engage New Yorkers about the way we create, manage, and adapt spaces in the city, OHNY aims to enhance quality of place in underinvested communities and improve how the city functions for all.

Since 2014, Urban Systems has delved into the natural and built systems that power New York City and its inhabitants, from how we feed the city to how we transport people and goods. Through talks, tours, and more, the series invites key policymakers, planners, and practitioners to share a behind-the-scenes look at the most pressing issues facing New York City. Prior Urban Systems series have explored the impact of manufacturing, food systems, sanitation and waste, justice systems, transportation, and libraries on the urban environment.