Overview: Place-based initiatives are programs designed and delivered with the intention of targeting a specific geographical location and particular population group in order to respond to complex social problems. Typically, they focus on areas and communities with entrenched disadvantage or deprivation.
This report investigates the key factors and characteristics associated with successful outcomes with such programs, drawing on the international literature and evaluation studies of Australian government and overseas programs.
Many Commonwealth place-based initiatives reviewed had features that accord with those of international place-based initiatives, including common program elements such as design, delivery, implementation and evaluation.
Evaluation of all these common elements is rarely done by either international or Commonwealth place-based initiatives.
In particular, evaluations of Commonwealth place-based initiatives lacked sufficient evidence to establish the causal effects of initiatives, their cost-effectiveness and an understanding of how these initiatives work to achieve their goals. This was more pronounced among the evaluation of Commonwealth initiatives than in international evaluations.