Place-Based Policy

Using and developing place typologies for policy purposes


Department for Communities and Local Government, London, UK: 2011.  The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and its predecessor departments have actively promoted the use of such classifications for nearly 30 years, since the development of the Index of Local Conditions (later the Index of Local Deprivation and Index of Multiple Deprivation) in 1981. The department has made active use of these indices in targeting interventions, such as its Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, and in evaluating performance and progress, for example in comparing the performance of New Deal for Communities areas with other areas of similar deprivation. This toolkit is designed to provide an overview of the uses and limitations of the place typologies which underlie neighbourhood performance indicators in the UK.  Although there is considerable enthusiasm for place typologies and widespread use, applying these tools in policy is not straightforward. Different kinds of tools, and
different levels of methodological sophistication, will be appropriate in different circumstances.

Inner Suburbs at Stake: Investing in Social Infrastructure in Scarborough

This report finds that some “neighbourhood strategies” are more effective than others. Drawing on a pilot study that contrasts the experiences of the Kingston?Galloway/Orton Park (KGO) priority neighbourhood, with Parkdale, a downtown community that faces similar social and economic challenges but which did not receive Priority Neighbourhood (PN) designation, the report demonstrates that how we diagnose the problems in neighbourhoods matters profoundly in how we respond. This research further suggests that there are different ways of understanding neighbourhoods active within the PN strategy. According to residents and community workers, some ways of making sense of neighbourhoods and making change in neighbourhoods are more effective and responsive than others, and this report explores these strategies and practices in some detail. It includes findings about both effective and ineffective strategies. Effective neighbourhood strategies cultivate social infrastructure. They stem from explanations for concentrated poverty that assign responsibility to government policy and economic change at the local, regional, national, and global scale. They restore investment in human services and facilities in areas that have been overlooked, but they also advocate change at scales much larger than the local in order to respond to social polarization, segregation, and the racialization of poverty. Effective strategies for neighbourhoods are tailor?made for local conditions by local communities. They are accountable and inclusive, provide meaningful skills development that responds directly to identified gaps and needs, and they explicitly address persistent inequalities such as those that are manifest along the lines of race, mental health, class, and gender.

Asset-Based, Resident-Led Neighbourhood Development: Action for Neighbourhood Change

Action for Neighbourhood Change is a learning initiative exploring ways to support resident-led strategies for strengthening neighbourhoods. A great deal has been accomplished in the short period of ANC’s operation. Over the course of 14 months, the initiative established the infrastructure needed to support its work, followed a complete cycle in the revitalization process (from neighbourhood selection through resident engagement, vision building and initial actions) and explored the implications for the policies and procedures of government, as well as for other structures wishing to support neighbourhood initiatives. Insights and experiences pertaining to neighbourhood revitalization have been documented throughout the process in an extensive set of papers, stories, tools and reports. This emerging body of knowledge constitutes one of the important ‘legacies’ from ANC’s first phase. It lays a foundation for the initiative’s continuing work and provides a substantial source of information and ideas for others interested in strengthening neighbourhoods. The aim of this final reflection paper is not to review all of the important issues and insights that have been documented elsewhere but to synthesize the findings and highlight key lessons learned to date, and their implications for ongoing efforts at neighbourhood revitalization.


Place-based Public Policy: Towards a New Urban and Community Agenda for Canada

This Research Report explores ideas and options for a new approach to urban and community policy in Canada. The analysis builds on the growing body of research demonstrating how “place matters” to the quality of life for all citizens and to the prosperity of nations. This Research Report calls for a place-based public policy framework. In so doing, it takes a broader view than is often the case in assessing the problems and prospects of cities. An urban perspective concentrates on physical infrastructures and the powers available to municipalities. A community perspective focuses on social infrastructures and the networks for democratic participation. The place-based framework recognizes the importance of both perspectives, and seeks their integration through a mix of public policies responding to the needs of cities of all sizes and locations.

A Brief Review of Neighbourhoods in Canada: Research Note

As the complexity and diversity of the contemporary Canadian city continues to grow, the appropriate level of social and political analysis is shrinking. Especially in Canada’s CMA’s, it is becoming increasingly important to acknowledge not just the city itself, but its component parts. Thus, the neighbourhood is emerging as a salient concept in analysis of the urban form as policy makers, urban planners, and the private sector attempt to uncover the variables that contribute to healthy and vibrant cities and communities. The objective of this research note is to conduct a preliminary review of research on neighbourhoods. The focus of the review is to identify the main thematic areas of research on neighbourhoods in Canada, as well as to examine how the concept of neighbourhood is defined in the literature.


Shared Space: The Communities Agenda

The goal of the communities agenda is to promote resilience – in order to build strong and vibrant communities. Resilience is the result of strategic actions taken in four independent, but associated, clusters. These relate to sustenance, adaptation, engagement and opportunity. The four resilience clusters comprise the substance of the communities agenda. The process of the communities agenda involves work in the shared space within and between resilience clusters. It is the space between citizens and organizations within each cluster. It is the space between clusters. It is the space between communities and government: the common ground in which private troubles meet public issues. The communities agenda is essentially about creating joined-up communities. Working in these areas of shared space is neither simple nor simplistic. Organizing for complexity is the first key step.


Action for Neighbourhood Change: Building a Neighbourhood Renewal Process

This paper was developed by a group of people brought together by the Action for Neighbourhood Change initiative. It presents an understanding of how change occurs in a neighbourhood which is based on previous and current community and neighbourhood revitalization efforts. Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC) is a two-year neighbourhood renewal initiative that seeks to improve the quality of life for the residents of neighbourhoods in five Canadian cities – Surrey, Regina, Thunder Bay, Toronto and Halifax. Interventions undertaken since the project began in March 2005 were based on the medical axiom of doing no harm, knowing that in the complex system of a neighbourhood, it is impossible to anticipate all the possible outcomes of actions. Beginning with a clear goal – neighbourhood renewal – provided a wide enough target that virtually any activity or starting point could be shown to help move residents in a positive direction. The short duration of ANC, however, made it necessary to focus on achieving a critical level of support for sustainability. Ultimately, residents must possess the skills, organizational capacity and self-confidence to address challenges for themselves.


Canadian Social Policy in the 2000s: Bringing Place In

This article explores departures in Canadian public policy toward more “place-based” approaches to social development. Focusing on the federal government, it describes a series of recent initiatives designed to enable local actors to participate in policy development processes and take greater control of their own destinies. Using the categories of “municipal empowerment” and “community building” to map new patterns, the article examines innovation and learning across federal and local scales. The article concludes that Canadian governments have now joined a robust and evolving international conversation about leveraging local assets to meet significant national policy challenges, but that more work needs to be done to build high performing, durable multi-level partnerships.


United Way, City Of Toronto Target Inner Suburbs With Major Neighbourhood Investment Strategy: Plan calls on governments to coordinate resources to invest in neighbourhoods

On June 30, 2005 the United Way and the City of Toronto today unveiled a plan to strengthen social services in neighbourhoods facing the greatest need throughout Toronto, particularly in the city’s inner suburbs. The plan identified nine Toronto neighbourhoodsn where social services are most out-of-step with growing need. The Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy was released after a year-long City of Toronto-United Way task force began looking for ways to strengthen the social infrastructure
of Toronto neighbourhoods, identify community investment models, and advocate for change. The Strong Neighbourhoods Task Force unveiled the strategy after commissioning six research studies over the past year to assess specific needs in neighbourhoods across Toronto, where investments most need to be made, and how residents, neighbourhood groups and governments can find solutions to neighbourhood issues and challenges.