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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government

About Cities and Neighborhoods

Cities and Neighborhoods

The Rockefeller Institute’s Program of Urban and Metropolitan Studies seeks to present a fuller picture of the actual strength and diversity of metropolitan neighborhoods, especially those that are predominately minority and working or middle class; to assess the role of neighborhood social capital — in the form of “civic infrastructure” and “sociocultural ties” — as an influence on community prosperity; to closely examine efforts by residents and other stakeholders to improve the future of their neighborhoods through Comprehensive Community Initiatives and otherwise; to explore linkages between inner city areas and regional economies; and to identify public policies that can help ensure the stability of nonpoor communities and, by extension, help turn around their poorer counterparts.

Study of Urban Neighborhoods and Community Capacity Building

This is a multiyear study — with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Pew Charitable Trusts — designed to create a new conventional wisdom about the social conditions and economic prospects of predominately minority neighborhoods in large metropolitan areas across the U.S.

Perspectives on Urban Hardship

The Institute’s Urban and Metropolitan Studies Program has a longitudinal study assessing the degree of concentrated poverty, examining urban and suburban disparity, and comparing the socioeconomic condition of the largest cities in the most populated metropolitan areas in the nation from 1970 through 2000.

Effects of Welfare Reform on Community Development Corporations

The Institute’s Urban and Metropolitan Studies program has joined with the Center For Real Estate and Urban Policy, New York University School of Law, to examine and report on early impacts of welfare reform on selected CDCs. With support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Cleveland Foundation, and the Minneapolis Foundation, the study comprises two layers of analysis: (1) field research conducted among a sample of four CDCs in each of six cities — Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Minneapolis, New York City, and San Francisco; and (2) contextual research on linkages between welfare and housing policy at the state level gathered through an existing 20-state field network studying implementation of welfare reform.

National Implementation Assessment of the Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Community Initiative

This is a national assessment of the Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Community Initiative for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In cooperation with a team of local field associates, the Institute collected and analyzed information over the first two years of the program to determine how effectively a sample of 18 of the 72 sites carried out their strategic plans to create economic opportunity, sustainable community development, neighborhood-based partnerships, and visions for change; to what extent they met their performance measures; how they could improve their performance; and how their techniques and processes, if successful, could be used by other communities.

Evaluation Study of the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative

The Institute performed a field network evaluation of the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative, a signature initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts designed to catalyze the efforts of residents in working-class, urban neighborhoods in nine cities across the country to preserve and improve the future of their communities. The study detailed what was learned about: how best to assist residents of working-class neighborhoods to strengthen the social, physical, and economic assets that make neighborhoods healthy and viable; what strategies are most likely to work; how to build the long-term capacity of neighborhood residents to engage in neighborhood preservation; and what were the key variables in determining whether a given NPI site and the overall NPI initiative were successful. The project director authored the book, It Takes a Neighborhood: Strategies to Prevent Urban Decline (The Rockefeller Institute Press, 2001), which highlights NPI strategies.