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Improving the outcomes of place-based initiatives


  • Naomi Cytron


For more than five decades, public, private and nonprofit entities have implemented a range of targeted neighborhood revitalization strategies designed to tackle the challenges associated with concentrated poverty. These efforts have included urban renewal programs, loans and grants motivated by the Community Reinvestment Act, housing redevelopment through HOPE VI, Empowerment Zones, New Markets Tax Credit investments, as well as foundation-led comprehensive community initiatives and local nonprofit ventures. The most ambitious of these initiatives have aimed to concentrate multiple investments in both infrastructure and human capital in a single neighborhood. ; At their core, these comprehensive initiatives try to tackle long-standing disparities in housing, employment, education, and health caused by public policy decisions, market forces and failures, and patterns of discrimination. Yet overcoming these inequalities has proven to be difficult. In some cases, place-based initiatives have led to measurable improvements; in others, efforts have struggled, failing to significantly “move the needle” on the challenges associated with deeply entrenched neighborhood poverty. ; Despite these mixed-outcomes, place-based strategies are receiving increased attention and funding from both the public and private sector. The Obama Administration has explicitly endorsed place-based policy, and has launched an evaluation of existing federal place-based policies in an effort to identify areas of overlap and to seek avenues for interagency coordination. Additionally, the administration has budgeted for a new cohort of place-based anti-poverty programs. On a more local scale, a number of California-based foundations and CDFIs, as well as local government agencies, have also expanded investments in place-based initiatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Naomi Cytron, 2010. "Improving the outcomes of place-based initiatives," Community Investments, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Spr, pages 3-7.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfci:y:2010:i:spr:p:3-7:n:v.22no.1

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