Network Effectiveness in Neighborhood Collaborations: Learning from the Chicago Community Networks Study

Nov 15, 2017
David M. Greenberg for MDRC
Federal, state, and local policies focused on neighborhood improvement have long emphasized the need for community organizations to share information, coordinate activities, and collaborate in the delivery of services. These partnerships build “community capacity,” as a way of promoting local problem solving and community well-being over the longer term. But, there has been only limited research on which patterns of neighborhood networks are most conducive to implementing effective collective work. This report uses social network analysis, drawing from a network survey, and extensive field research to ask how specific patterns of partnership promote better-implemented collaborations that in turn can successfully inform public policy. The findings in this report have a qualitative, observable component, making it possible for funders to identify neighborhoods with advantageous structural supports before choosing to invest in that location, and for practitioners to support certain patterns of community activity.
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