What are place-based initiatives?

Place-based initiatives draw on the power of collective action to support healthier, more equitable communities.

These collaborative networks bring public, private, and nonprofit organizations together with community members to address systemic challenges and spark positive, population-level change. 

Place-based initiatives go beyond single-issue strategies.  

Instead, by confronting the underlying causes of inequality, place-based initiatives can address complex community challenges, like increasing affordable housing, improving education, and strengthening civic engagement.

Place-based initiatives can break down barriers to opportunity, offering a path to better outcomes for people, children, and families.

FAQs: The Promise of Place-Based Initiatives

Foundational Case Studies

In 2017, the Population Change Learning Community--a group of place-based practitioners from diverse regions in both the US and Canada--came together to explore what defines a high-impact place-based initiative. Their work revealed six core collective capacities needed to support place-based change.

MAGNOLIA COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

In launching the Magnolia Community Initiative (MCI), the Children’s Bureau of Southern California set out to advance child and family wellbeing in a densely-populated, 500-block stretch of neighborhoods in Los Angeles County. By creating a shared learning network of community-based organizations all working collectively to improve child and family outcomes, MCI has helped build the infrastructure--and spark the innovation--to support, sustain, and spread community change.

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THUNDER VALLEY COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
OGLALA LAKOTA NATION

On the Pine Ridge Reservation, Thunder Valley CDC has created a place-based model that applies Indigenous innovation and collective leadership to spark a whole new kind of regenerative community development.

 

 

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AMANI NEIGHBORHOOD
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN

In the Amani Neighborhood in Milwaukee Wisconsin, two organizations came together to create a resident-driven place-based initiative, creating urgently needed community assets, from new green spaces to access to quality health care.

 

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VITAL VILLAGE
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

In launching Vital Village, an interdisciplinary group of practitioners based at Boston Medical Center set out to discover how to break through systemic barriers to child and family wellbeing. This place-based community engagement network draws on innovative partnerships and collective investment to seed scalable, sustainable community change around child protection.

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AVENUES OF CHANGE
GUILDFORD, WEST SURREY

In British Columbia’s City of Surrey, the Avenues of Change Initiative brought residents and community organizations and created a testing ground for new ways of working toward community change efforts focused on child wellbeing.

 

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BROWNSVILLE PARTNERSHIP
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

In Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood--a community affected by persistent poverty and housing insecurity--the Brownsville Partnership committed to being a place-based catalyst, bringing together residents and community-based organizations to expand access to opportunity and employment opportunities.

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ASYLUM FAMILY CENTER
HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT

In the diverse city of Hartford, where socioeconomic disparities affect many families, the Asylum Hill Family Center launched an effort to transition service recipients into Parent Ambassadors. Leveraging their knowledge, insight, and leadership, the Center created intentional programming that is driving positive change across the community.

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