A person-in-environment perspective has been emblematic of the social work profession since its beginnings, and social workers have played a fundamental role in the design, implementation, and evaluation of place-based interventions. However, we still know relatively little about what, why, where, and for whom place-based development may be most effective. More fundamental questions persist regarding whether place-based policy should be promoted or abandoned in favor of targeting resources directly to people, or investing in larger structural interventions.
This roundtable session will advance a dialogue on the state of the field of place-based interventions in areas of housing, community, economic, and social development. The presenters will also discuss the role of social workers in place-based interventions, and the extent to which such approaches advance social, political, and racial justice. The first presenter will provide a historical and theoretical overview of place-based interventions in the U.S. The second presenter will discuss the empirical effects of place-based interventions on people and places. The next presenter will discuss the increasing pressure place-based initiatives face to identify clear outcomes and impact. This discussion will highlight challenges and effective practices for establishing stakeholder alignment about the types of impact and extent of community change that are realistic to expect, along with related measurement options and opportunities. The next presenter will discuss equitable development as it relates to current place-based efforts to prevent gentrification and resident displacement. This presenter will also discuss strategies for engaging youth and adult residents in advocating for positive neighborhood change by influencing existing equity policies and plans, as well as promoting policy changes that advance resident driven revitalization that focus on both people and place. The final presenter will discuss emerging research on urban innovation and offer recommendations for sustainable place-based development work. These innovations include movement toward "co-everything" (e.g., co-working spaces, co-generating renewable energy, co-capacity-sharing in housing, transit, food production), and the use of spatial demography to better understand facilitators and barriers to place-based development. Finally, all presenters will engage in a discussion focused on highly feasible approaches for place-based development in social work and implications for research, policy, and practice.