how the field has evolved since its birth in the 1960s and 1970s and how it is different today from the past;

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President Biden has rolled out and proposed numerous community development initiatives. Which two of these initiatives do you believe will have the greatest positive impacts on addressing the racial, economic, and/or gender disparities revealed over the past year of social justice demonstrations and COVID experiences? What might it take to realize the promises of these initiatives? Do you think these initiatives will be effective within the next three years, and if so, why (and if not, why not)?

10-15 pages

Course Description: We are shaped by our communities, and we shape them. There is strong evidence and research, along with decades of common sense, that the quality of life in neighborhoods shapes the employment and educational opportunities, and health and life outcomes of the people who live there. The United States confronts growing income and wealth inequality that plays out across geographic spaces and neighborhoods. Wealth and income do not fully define a neighborhood any more than they fully define a person. All neighborhoods have assets that are worthy of celebration and can be leveraged to create more opportunity. A major challenge facing new administrations in Washington and Boston will be the development of asset-based tools and processes that help communities build their strengths from within, with the support of external resources. Racial, social, and gender equity must be fundamentally embedded in these tools and resources.

For fifty years, community developers have worked to enable residents to create better neighborhoods for themselves – neighborhoods that provide opportunity and a good quality of life to everyone, including those with lower incomes and less tangible wealth, the middle classes, and those international investors who have transformed urban areas. Over the past two decades, the time, labor, and financial resources available to develop communities have been distributed by an increasingly wide range of entities: community-based organizations, governmental agencies, corporations and private real estate development bodies, foundations, quasi-public entities such as transportation authorities, private individuals, social media, and cultural institutions.

This course is designed to explore and examine the challenges and opportunities confronting community developers as they pursue these goals after a period of financial, political, and social disruptions. We will examine:

  • how the field has evolved since its birth in the 1960s and 1970s and how it is different today from the past;
  • how the field is currently organized, including the role of community based organizations, community development financial institutions, local, state and federal agencies, banks, developers, universities, cultural institutions, social media, and other stakeholders;
  • the core community economic development issues and strategies, including community planning, community organizing, real estate development and business development, and public regulations, while also looking at emerging innovations in the field;
  • the connections between the community development field and sectors including health, environment, public safety, housing, cultural identity, new technologies, and education, particularly as influenced by learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic; and,
  • the particularly exciting community development field here in Boston through guest presentations, readings, and (as possible) some exploration of nearby neighborhoods.

The instructor for this course has professional experience in law, environmental design, higher education, racial equity, and public administration. He is one of five members of the Board of the Boston Planning and Development Agency. He has advised mayors nationally through the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, and has worked with commercial housing developers, community development corporations, universities, cultural institutions, government agencies, and private individuals who have been directly involved with community development. Our goal in this course is to touch upon and do research into the widening array of community development entities, approaches, tools, and values that affect American urban economic and community development, with a focus on achieving accessibility, opportunity, and social justice.

By the end of the course, students should have a broad understanding of the key issues affecting contemporary American community development, and be better prepared to enter the community development sector. Students will develop a nuanced understanding of the debates that exist within the field, and begin to develop their own views on these challenging questions, particularly as new community development policies are being developed at the Federal and local levels. Finally, students will gain experience communicating about community economic development issues in ways that are effective for different audiences, including practitioners, policy makers, and non-professional community leaders.

Course materials.

the following doc is the reading for this courses

 

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1 Performance-Based Pay Initiative Name Affiliation Course Instructor Date 2 Performance-Based Pay Initiative I would not support the mayor’s performance-based pay initiative. Research shows that when output is not a good predictor of effort, in cases where employees are more risk-averse, and a job’s characteristics are multidimensional, such incentives do not improve productivity (Burgess & Ratto, 2003). These are the characteristics of jobs in the public sector (including City Hall). In such a setting, it is not easy to measure any employee’s outcomes and, by extension, induce efficient performance. Worth noting is that an employee in this setting performs several tasks. If an incentive system was to be introduced, they are likely to put more effort into highly rewarded tasks while neglecting those that do not attract significant rewards (Burgess & Ratto, 2003). The resultant negative externalities mean that the outcome can be worse than without the incentive. The ideal strategy, in this case, is to adopt a team-based incentive program. Often in the public sector, performance data is available at an aggregate level, while individuals are responsible for outcomes (Burgess & Ratto, 2003). For instance, City Hall may assess results at the department level. Adopting team rewards at this level instead of individual incentives can be an effective way of incentivizing employees. It may also increase collaboration among members of a team, thereby increasing their productivity. A potential downside is that a team introduces the risk of free-riding when complementarities in performing tasks exist and when the team’s output is sharable among members. Nevertheless, team rewards can instigate peer monitoring, thereby reducing the extent of free riding and promoting cooperation. Besides, mutual monitoring can result in group norms that enhance productivity. Research shows that autonomous teams are associated with productivity increases of up to 14% (Burgess & Ratto, 2003). Part of the effect results from the 3 inclination of high-ability workers to join teams where they earn a group piece rate. The composition of the team translates to high productivity effects. 4 Reference Burgess, S & Ratto, M. (2003). The role of incentives in the public sector: Issues and evidence. Working Paper no. 03/071. Leverhulme Centre for Market and Public Organization University of Bristol Department of Economics, 1-29. …
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