Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Beyond "People Vs Place"

Friday, November 13, 2015 : 9:10 AM
Foster I (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Margery Austin Turner, The Urban Institute
This paper will synthesize evidence from both research and practice to argue that "people-based" and "place-based" strategies can more fruitfully be seen as complimentary than as competing alternatives.  The problems of poverty concentration and neighborhood distress result from the combined effects of 1) the exclusion of low-income people (particularly people of color) from neighborhoods of opportunity; and 2) disinvestment in the neighborhoods where low-income people (particularly people of color) are concentrated.  Although both fair housing and community development practitioners have achieved significant gains over the last several decades, tensions between their goals and strategies arise often.  The paper will argue that effective and sustainable solutions have to include elements that address both of these underlying causes: expanding opportunities within poor places, while also expanding access to places already rich with opportunities. Moreover, they should connect low-income families -- and the neighborhoods in which they live -- with social and economic opportunities in the larger region. 

The paper will draw upon evolving research about patterns of residential mobility and neighborhood change, differences across metro regions in the geography of opportunity, and mechanisms through which neighborhood environments affect the lives of families.  It will also offer insights from promising on-the-ground initiatives.  Finally, it will offer evidence-based principles for a next generation of "place-conscious" strategies that recognize and respond to the critical role neighborhood conditions play in the lives and life-chances of families, as well as the realities of family mobility and neighborhood change.

Full Paper: