Place-based Initiatives of the Obama Administration: Emerging Findings about Choice and Promise Neighborhoods

March 20, 2014 - 3:10pm
Laura McKieran

The Obama Administration has launched an agenda specifically considering the value of local places. Its policies concern strategic investments of federal resources. It has two prominent place-based initiatives, awarded to over 75 local communities. Promise Neighborhoods aims to improve educational outcomes of children and youth through educational programs and family and community supports. Choice Neighborhoods aims to replace distressed assisted housing developments with mixed-income housing while improving resident services and neighborhood assets. This colloquy will share emerging findings from a national research evaluation for Choice and a technical assistance contract for Promise currently being conducted by the Urban Institute and other partners. The colloquy will also bring to life--through deeper description and interpretation--how these federal policies are being shaped and implemented by people working and living in three Promise and Choice sites: Washington, DC; Langley Park, Maryland; and San Antonio. For Choice, we will explore early insights into key research questions, including: What did the grantees set out to accomplish and how did these goals evolve over time? How did the federal-level policy design influence implementation decisions? How have the investments been coordinated and leveraged? How have the intended beneficiaries been engaged in planning and to what end? For Promise, we will address key research questions, including: How are grantees using data to both improve the quality of their programs and services and to evaluate the success of their initiatives? What key data sources are grantees using and how are they involving the communities they serve in data collection? What lessons are emerging about how communities share data and track performance for a common target population? The panel participants will share both opportunities and challenges of these two initiatives, as well as implications for national policy design and practice.