Mural density and changes in income and population diversity in Philadelphia, PA

Authors: Glenn Roedel*, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania , Mario L. Cardozo, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
Topics: Cultural Geography, Urban Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: murals, Philadelphia, gentrification, urban, GIS
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Philadelphia is known as the “city of brotherly love,” as it has historically welcomed diverse communities of different cultures. The city is also a vibrant cultural center with important museums and impressive street art. The Mural Arts Philadelphia program has helped create hundreds of murals across the city. These murals often reinforce positive characteristics of Philadelphia’s diverse neighborhoods. The program was originally started in the 1980s by Jane Golden, a mural artist who wanted to inspire young people to express themselves artistically in lawful venues rather than do graffiti illegally. Based on GIS data from 2015 on murals sponsored by Golden’s program and 2000 and 2015 U.S. Census statistics, we examined how changes in socioeconomic variables (income and ethnicity) relate spatially to mural density at the census block group level. We also visited murals in particular neighborhoods to have a better understanding of the patterns observed in the GIS analysis. We applied Anselin’s method to identify statistically significant spatial clusters of low and high values for the aforementioned variables. The mural’s program is intended to promote positive social changes within diverse communities. Our results show that clusters of high density of murals are associated with both lower and higher income clusters as well as minority community clusters. However, the identified high mural density clusters show consistent increase in income and white population percentage, suggesting possible gentrification.

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