Community and Regional Planning Program


Date of this Version

Spring 4-2014


Lee, Tingying "Evaluating Cultural Vitality in U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas: Implications for Cultural Planning." Master's Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2014


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Community and Regional Planning, Major: Community and Regional Planning, Under the Supervision of Professor Yunwoo Nam. Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2014

Copyright (c) 2014 Tingying Lee


The purpose of this study is to understand cultural planning’s current status in the United States. In this study, I used cultural vitality indicators as a tool to evaluate the cultural resources of cities in the United States. I also explored how planners have responded to the concept of creative cities by reviewing the cultural planning activities of the top 60 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) in the United States. Lastly, I conducted a statistical test to see if an additional department such as cultural affairs, which focuses primarily on cultural planning, positively impacts cultural vitality. The result shows there is no statistical significance of cities that do have this additional department versus those cities that do not. Through reviewing the cultural planning activities of each city, I found that cities with higher cultural vitality tend to focus on encouraging better living condition for artists in their downtown areas and cultivating stronger city identity for cultural tourism. Moreover, higher cultural vitality cities tend to restructure their city government structure towards a more integrated department approach for conducting cultural planning. This research contributes an overview of cultural planning activities in the United States. Although the planning implications for cultural planning is limited because of only reviewing 60 MSAs, it is still valuable for planners to evaluate if it is applicable to adopt in their city.

Adviser: Yunwoo Nam