Essays on People, Place & Purpose

Investing in What Works for America's Communities

What Works News Round-Up – June 13, 2014

by Admin

In the News

Here is some of the latest poverty and community development news from this past week. (6/12/14) The damage of poverty is visible as early as kindergarten
In a new article in the spring issue of the Princeton University journal The Future of Children (and highlighted by the Brookings social mobility blog), researchers show that poverty is directly correlated to kindergarten performance. Children who live in poverty have far lower performance than their richer peers across a variety of measures, and those who live in near poverty in turn have dramatically worse performance than middle-class peers. The poorest kids, for example, are less than one-third as likely as middle-class kids to recognize letters.

MetroTrends Blog (6/11/14) How Government Can (Finally) Start Paying for Success
Injecting private capital into the public sector addresses the problem of widespread underfunding of public sector interventions and innovations. PFS, social impact bonds (SIBs), and scaled finance are all similar models that share a core concept: using private capital to buy outcomes, while promising a profit if the program is successful.

Fast Company (6/10/14) Linking Minneapolis And St. Paul With A Transit Project That Doesn’t Destroy Communities
The Minneapolis-St. Paul area has always been, quite literally, a tale of two cities, but soon the two will be a little more united. With this month’s opening of a new light-rail line–the largest public works project in the state’s history–the two Twin City downtowns are going to be connected by rail for the first time since an old streetcar system went defunct in the 1950s.

The Wall Street Journal (6/9/14) A Look at Six U.S. Cities Pioneering New Economic Zones
What are the key ingredients of this new model of urban development? Seedier industrial or waterfront areas have offered cheap real estate that can be repurposed. These areas tend to be closer to midtown or downtown districts, which in many cases are already becoming sought-after residential destinations. They’re also close to transit hubs and they tend to have a university or two or another anchor research institution.

The New York Times (6/7/14) Affordable Housing That’s Very Costly
There are two appealing facts about inclusionary zoning: developers pay for it, so it has no direct fiscal cost at a time when direct subsidy dollars for affordable housing are scarce; and it produces economic integration, with high- and low-income households living on the same hallways. This is no small thing in Manhattan, where high housing costs — rents rose 19 percent from 2005 to 2012 — are turning it into an island of exclusivity. On the other hand, the affordable housing units created by inclusionary zoning are extremely expensive.

WBUR (6/6/14) Can Brain Science Help Lift People Out of Poverty?
As other researchers, including Jack Shonkoff, director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard, have noted, this chronic vise of pressure — to pay the bills, function at work, raise the kids, and simply survive in an atmosphere rife with social bias and harsh living conditions — “places extraordinary demands on cognitive bandwidth.” Babcock writes:

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