The Evaluation of Place-Based Approaches: Questions for Further Research

Policy Horizons Canada

Author +
Teresa Bellefontaine, Robin Wisener

Year: 2011

Collaborative place-based approaches (PBAs) have emerged as a means of addressing “wickedly” complex issues: those that have many interacting causes and are seen to require multiple actors to develop a co-ordinated response (Shugart and Townsend, 2010). Some wicked issues commonly associated with PBAs include climate change, poverty, obesity, crime, indigenous disadvantage, and natural resource management (Australian Public Service Commission, 2007).

Complexity has been identified as a challenge across disciplines, particularly in the public sector (Venema and Drexhage, 2009). Place-based approaches have been identified as one possible way to address these intractable issues and are gaining momentum in Canadaand internationally. The Government of Canada’s Policy Research Initiative (now Policy Horizons Canada) published two related issues of Horizons – Sustainable Places and Innovative Communities – that more fully explore the increase in place-based approaches and social innovation, as well as the federal government’s role within them.


  • The Adoption of Place-Based Approaches
  • Challenges in Evaluating Place-Based Approaches
  • The Canadian Federal Paradigm
  • Effectiveness of Place-Based Approaches
  • Current and Emerging Approaches to Place-Based Evaluation
  • Conclusion: Questions for Further Research
  • References

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