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In October 2015, The Aspen Institute, Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, and Neighborhood Funders Group hosted a convening, Is This a Better Place: The Art and Science of Place-Based Evaluation, to explore the importance of place in improving the well-being of people and communities, and how practitioners can effectively evaluate and support change in these dynamic environments.

This resource highlights key learnings from that convening, in which over 100 participants ranging from public and private funders, evaluators, and community representatives came together to:  

  • Share effective, innovation learning practices for dynamic, complex environments
  • Identify appropriate questions and metrics at different developmental stages of place-based initiatives
  • Explore evaluation’s role in the power dynamics of place 
Despite the growing evidence on the importance of place, understanding how and what investments improve communities remains elusive.