Integrated, place-based approaches to changing public housing communities: a case study of Lord Selkirk Park
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Lord Selkirk Park (LSP) is a 314 unit public housing community in Winnipeg’s north end. A major redevelopment of the community began in 2009 and included a $17 million renovation of the housing stock, employment of local residents to undertake the renovation, a new community Resource Centre, a new infant childcare centre that employs an Abecedarian early childhood education model, and a new adult learning centre. This case study attempts to understand first how and why LSP changed as result of the redevelopment and secondly, why decision-makers chose to make such investments. The case of LSP was selected because it is an example of an intervention in a public housing community grounded in social democratic ideology and is both integrated and place-based. Literature reviewed to establish the context for the study included studies related to: rationales for the integration of housing policy with the larger social policy context; perspectives on the role and future of social housing; studies on the persistence of poverty in public housing communities; and evaluations of interventions that have historically taken place in public housing – dispersal, mixed-income, homeownership and integrated, place-based programs. The thesis concludes that one perspective on these four issues is largely draw from a neoliberal ideology based on culture of poverty and new public management theories. A second perspective is drawn from social democratic ideology based on social determinants of health and community economic development theories. Data collected includes interviews with thirteen tenants of LSP, eight service providers, and three senior decision-makers in the Manitoba government, participant observation data, and data drawn from public documentation. The thesis concluded that LSP had changed for the better as a result of the redevelopment. LSP became a safer, more desirable place to live. The quality of the housing improved. Residents demonstrated better social cohesion and had access to and were using services that could lead to improved self-sufficiency. Further, the research concludes that the redevelopment was successful because it was place-based, integrated and based on identified community needs. Finally, the thesis concludes that decision-makers supported this model of redevelopment because they held social democratic values.