Pennsylvania Humanities Council has recreated here the original GIS cultural asset map
that was hosted by the City of Chester's Planning Department.
Click the box in the upper left corner to expand the map legend.
As final output of the Chester Cultural Corridor project, Chester’s Planning Department and Pennsylvania Humanities Council, along with faculty and students at Widener University, took the data gathered through stories in Chester and created the cultural asset map, which continues to be accessible online as a record of community values of art and culture in 2015. The map includes cultural organizations, facilities, events, and heritage sites.
The Cultural Assets Map is viewed as a tangible and potentially generative product highlighting Chester’s cultural resources past and present. Significant investment was made by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, Dr. Steven Kauffman and his students at Widener University, and Paul Fritz representing the Chester City Planning Department to create the Cultural Assets Map.
Chester Made partners hoped the information gathered would be integrated into city projects and land use planning in a number of ways, including:
- Awareness and marketing: promoting culture for residents and visitors
- Economic development: facilitating entrepreneurial investment in creative cultural industries
- Planning and policy: informing decision-making related to land use and design
- Networks and collaboration: facilitating partnerships with cultural groups and identifying opportunities to maximize assets
The map directly addressed recommendations in the Chester’s 2012 comprehensive plan. At the culminating presentation to Chester City Council, Paul Fritz, a consultant with Chester's city planning department said, "You have to start with something to gain momentum. [The map] was a good way to inventory Chester's assets as far as arts and culture goes, to leverage future grant funds or future art projects." Planning Department Director Bill Payne saw potential for the map to inform wayfinding and signage efforts in the future and as a resource that the city can use to show community assets to potential investors.
In July 2015 the Chester Made Ensemble theatrically presented the entire project and the final map to Chester City Council. All in all, more than 2,400 people participated in the Chester Cultural Corridor project. This initiative has engaged people who do not typically participate in public processes and made them feel heard and validated. By putting the personal into the theatrical, the community was able to re-see their own strengths. While the process of cultural mapping is never done -- there will always be new assets and stories to add, the work in 2015 established a solid foundation for policy-making in city government and future initiatives led by residents, artists, entrepreneurs, and community activists. It also enabled us to honor and recognize the incredible talent and people power in the city -- our Chester Made Champions!
Chester Made is currently working on a new digital story initiative called Stories Make Chester. This new part of the project with Pennsylvania Humanities Council continues the work of the original Chester Made Ensemble, but with new advisors and innovative ways of gathering, storing and sharing resident's stories.