Links and Resources
Links to sites of interest to Places Group members, related to core themes of neighbourhoods, housing and urban policy, social and economic development.
Links will change frequently, so be sure to bookmark any sites you like.
Click on link titles. Pages will open in a new browser window.
Current News and Reports
Bringing Place Into Social Policy (CPRN)
This report explores the evolution of Canadian social development policy towards more place-based approaches. The paper shows the degree of federal policy experimentation aimed at better integrating policies for places and people, but which is still disparate and not yet systematically conceptualized.
Inequality Makes Us Sick (Globe & Mail)
Across all the Western democracies, there is a consistent pattern in which outcomes worsen as inequality increases. When societies have more equitable divisions of labour and income, they are economically and socially healthier. Writers Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett reviewed 30 years of data and research in The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better. Their book is currently (May 2009) only available from Amazon UK - about $38 CDN.
Blogs and Websites
Urban Places and Spaces
This blog focuses on places and placemaking and all that makes places work - preservation, design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, housing and quality of life monitoring.
Wikipedia article on an approach to problem solving that views "problems" as parts of an overall system, rather than reacting to present outcomes or events and potentially contributing to further development of the undesired issue or problem
The Ottawa Neighbourhoods study focused on place-based determinants of health. One of the most significant outcomes of the study was a web-based map of neighbourhood profiles, data and opinions that is now driving policy and program development by the City of Ottawa and other agencies. A classic case of “build it and they will come”.
Action for Neighbourhood Change - Place-Based Policy and the Communities Agenda
Community action on its own is not sufficient to make progress. We need innovative forms of public policy that combine foundational and enabling supports to people and places.
The Logic of Failure
... or "Why Things Go Wrong and What We Can Do to Make Them Right". This 1996 book by Dietrich Dorner objectively explores why bad things happen to smart people. The main finding is that we tend to forget that complex systems are just that, complex, and that when we make interventions in systems, we change the systems, so we need to keep monitoring to see what happened, something most of our bureaucratic processes happily ignore.
"Knowing What Works"
The Rowntree Foundation in the UK analyzed the effectiveness of policies introduced in the late 1990's to tackle poverty, homelessness and urban renewal from a place-based perspective. In general, place-based approaches did have positive impacts and tended to result in more cost-effective programs, however, the general lack of long-term data made substantial comparisons difficult.