Building the Next-Gen Federal Place-based Program

Place matters. The neighborhoods, cities, rural communities, and metropolitan regions where we live shape both our day-to-day quality of life and our families’ prospects for upward mobility. But our nation’s history of racial discrimination in both public policies and institutional practices has built profoundly separate and unequal places, sustaining and exacerbating racial inequity and injustice.

The scale of today’s inequities raises a central—but unresolved—question of what it would take for the next generation of federal place-based investments to deliver meaningful change for people and places.

With support from Blue Meridian Partners, the Urban Institute and PolicyLink are partnering to tackle this question by developing a blueprint for the next generation of federal place-based policy. The blueprint will draw upon community voices, research evidence, and practitioner insights to lay out principles and a structure for incorporating lessons from the past into future place-based policies that confront long-standing racial inequities and injustices.

This effort is informed by a policy working group that advises on lessons learned from past place-based programs and raises crucial issues for the design of new place-based programs and the refinement of existing ones.

Our work will help clear a path forward for communities and policymakers interested in strengthening federal investments in place-based work and improving upward mobility for people regardless of where they live.  

For more information about the project, contact Justin Milner.

Feature Content

 

Efforts to advance racial equity and boost upward mobility will require a robust national commitment to reversing the legacy of segregation and disinvestment that disproportionately harm low-income communities of color. The federal government can play a central role by catalyzing and supporting reparative work within communities, in partnership with local and state governments, regional coalitions, and philanthropy. This report presents findings from a scan of 33 past and ongoing federal place-based programs to inform future policies. It reflects advice and input from a policy working group made up of policymakers and civic leaders with broad and deep experience working in communities across the country. We envision that the next generation of federal policies focused on places will (1) confront racial inequity and injustice, (2) bridge sectors and policy domains, (3) respect and build community voice and power, (4) deliver sufficient resources and lasting system, and (5) promote a culture of learning through evidence and evaluation.

Executive Summary

Designing the Next Generation of Federal Place-Based Policy