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Measuring social and cultural infrastructure

How best can we define and measure the impact that social and cultural infrastructure has on the quality of life and resilience of our communities? The Bennett Institute is conducting a major new project funded by the British Academy to better understand how to measure the role that social and cultural infrastructure plays in the fabric of our societies.

Through our Townscapes programme and projects conducted in partnership with the British Academy and Power to Change, social infrastructure has been an area of focus for our research at the Bennett Institute for a number of years.

This project, led by Michael Kenny, will focus on how social and cultural infrastructure can be measured to improve understanding of its purpose, presence, scale and value to the fabric of our societies.

It will look at:

  • Defining social and cultural infrastructure and constructing a theory of social and cultural infrastructure that can be placed in wider discussions about the role of infrastructure.
  • Capturing and measuring the attributes of social and cultural infrastructure and developing a measurement framework that can best represent these attributes.
  • Developing principles for how any measurement framework can be converted into practical ways for policymakers and others to understand the value of social and cultural infrastructure.

The project is funded by The British Academy and forms part of the second phase of their programme of work on social and cultural infrastructure. Other activities within this second phase will include a roundtable and policy workshop series exploring the role that different institutions and actors play across sectors in sustaining and building social and cultural infrastructure, and also how this infrastructure can contribute towards tackling specific policy challenges.

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