Session: Place-Based Versus People-Based Development and the Role of Social Work Research, Policy, and Practice (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

120 Place-Based Versus People-Based Development and the Role of Social Work Research, Policy, and Practice

Friday, January 14, 2022: 2:00 PM-3:30 PM
Treasury, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
Cluster: Communities and Neighborhoods
Andrew Foell, MSW, MPP, Washington University in Saint Louis, Stephen Edward McMillin, PhD, Saint Louis University, Megan Meyer, PhD, University of Maryland, Richard Smith, PhD, Wayne State University and Mary Ohmer, PhD, MSW, MPIA, University of Pittsburgh
Place matters for people. The communities and neighborhoods where we grow up have considerable explanatory power on our health and well-being, above and beyond individual-level factors. Issues such as concentrated poverty, violent crime, exposure to environmental toxins, and limited access to health-supporting community resources undermine our abilities to live healthy lives. As such, assisting people while transforming the places where they live have been hallmarks of local, state, and federal policy efforts in the United States over the past century. These place-based development interventions, which strategically target resources to specific geographic areas in order to assist families and their communities, have evolved from local citizen-led efforts at the neighborhood level, to large multimillion dollar initiatives spearheaded by state and local governments.

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.

See more of: Roundtables