Project

The Observatory of Global Culture

Measuring development is difficult, and most of the widely accepted measures of progress, such as GDP per capita, or the U.N.�s Human Development Index, are aggregates that fail to consider people�s activities and achievements. Our civilization, however, has attained much more than providing services and purchasing power to an increasing population. Our history is punctuated by achievements, from the works of Leonardo da Vinci to the footsteps of Neil Armstrong. At the Observatory of Global Culture we are working on the creation of data, visualizations, and measures of cultural development with the goal of improving our understanding of the impact of culture. By producing these measures, we hope to highlight what our society has achieved and focus our social goals on concrete accomplishments that advance the development of human capacities, rather than more amorphous forms of aggregate growth.

Measuring development is difficult, and most of the widely accepted measures of progress, such as GDP per capita, or the U.N.�s Human Development Index, are aggregates that fail to consider people�s activities and achievements. Our civilization, however, has attained much more than providing services and purchasing power to an increasing population. Our history is punctuated by achievements, from the works of Leonardo da Vinci to the footsteps of Neil Armstrong. At the Observatory of Global Culture we are working on the creation of data, visualizations, and measures of cultural development with the goal of improving our understanding of the impact of culture. By producing these measures, we hope to highlight what our society has achieved and focus our social goals on concrete accomplishments that advance the development of human capacities, rather than more amorphous forms of aggregate growth.