Neighbourhood effects or neighbourhood-based problems? A policy context

Manley, D., van Ham, M., Bailey, N. , Simpson, L. and Maclennan, D. (2013) Neighbourhood effects or neighbourhood-based problems? A policy context. In: Manley, D., van Ham, M., Bailey, N., Simpson, L. and Maclennan, D. (eds.) Neighbourhood Effects or Neighbourhood-Based Problems? A Policy Context. Springer: Dordrecht, pp. 1-23. ISBN 9789400766952 (doi:10.1007/978-94-007-6695-2_1)

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The introduction of this edited volume explores the links between neighbourhood effects research, perceived neighbourhood problems and the policy responses that local and national governments have pursued to ameliorate the impacts on individuals. We consider why the neighbourhood is frequently used as a site for local interventions and discuss the motivations that multiple national governments have put forward in making the case for area based policies. Previous research has been far from conclusive about how and where neighbourhood matter for individual outcomes: sometimes the neighbourhood context can be a key influence, in other cases it can appear to be relatively insignificant compared with individual characteristics. As a result, a persistent key question that regularly surfaces in discussions about neighbourhood effects and neighbourhood-based policies is whether or not place-based policies remain relevant if there is little conclusive evidence that neighbourhood effects exist. In response to this question, we suggest that even when casual neighbourhood effect are small or insignificant, there is still be a case to be made for investments in neighbourhoods to provide social facilities for communities and as an effective way to target spatially concentrated communities. However, drawing on a recent comprehensive review of place- and people-based policies in the UK there is an apparent disconnection between person- and place-based policies.<p></p> To provide a means to address this disconnection, we conclude by offering a challenging question to academics, policy makers and governments involved in neighbourhood based policies: who are the neighbourhood based policies designed for, and who will these policies disadvantage either intentionally or unintentionally? To address this question, it is necessary that academics also investigate the neighbourhood policies themselves, including the processes that led to their design and implementation. Crucially, academics and policy makers need to engage in a dialogue that allows the asking of questions which do not just conform to current government ideology, but also allow asking more uncomfortable questions including those that challenge current beliefs and standpoints. Government policy makers and social scientists need to become open to the idea of building research with an experimental design and randomised trials into policy evaluations. The introduction concludes with a brief overview of each of the chapters in the volume.

Item Type:Book Sections (Introduction)
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:MacLennan, Professor Duncan and Bailey, Professor Nick
Authors: Manley, D., van Ham, M., Bailey, N., Simpson, L., and Maclennan, D.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies

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