Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors

Overview

Place-based approaches join up efforts of all community stakeholders (citizens, industry, diverse non-government organisations and all levels of government) to improve the social, economic and physical wellbeing of a defined geographical location.

The decision to apply a place-based approach should be based on sound evidence and engagement with the community.

Definition

The Queensland Government uses the following definition for place-based approaches:

Place-based approaches are collaborative, long-term approaches to build thriving communities delivered in a defined geographic location. This approach is ideally characterised by partnering and shared design, shared stewardship, and shared accountability for outcomes and impacts. Place-based approaches are often used to respond to complex, interrelated or challenging issues—such as to address social issues impacting those experiencing, or at risk of, disadvantage, or for natural disasters.”

This definition was developed through a series of co-design workshops with a range of stakeholders including academic, philanthropic, business, industry and community members as well as all three levels of government.

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Common elements of place-based approaches

Place-based approaches are designed to meet the unique requirements of the local community. However, they do tend to display a number of common elements:

  • meaningful engagement with community stakeholders and taking a strengths approach
  • joined-up ways of working with a systems view of people and place
  • local decision-making and flexibility
  • use of quality data and information to guide decisions
  • building the readiness of all community stakeholders
  • appropriate governance arrangements to support local action
  • monitoring and measuring impacts
  • long-term focus.

The nationally applicable place-based evaluation framework similarly notes the following common characteristics:

  • responding to complex, interrelated or challenging issues, including social issues impacting those experiencing, or at risk of, disadvantage, or natural disasters
  • applying a strength-based delivery approach that focuses on prevention, not just intervention
  • identifying and working on community priorities, valuing local knowledge, and building on and from social and cultural relationships
  • having a commitment to strategic learning, and using data and evidence to collectively adapt in real time
  • ongoing capacity and capability building amongst all stakeholders involved in the work
  • focusing on collective and collaborative action, active engagement and partnership with communities so that all stakeholders see themselves as active participants
  • having an underpinning value of creating greater equity.

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Approaches that focus on place

The diagram below explains how different approaches can have a focus on place.
(To view a larger image separately, right-click on PC, or Ctrl-click on Mac, for options.)

Place is important to Queenslanders. Place is where people raise their families, work and own businesses. It is where children and young people attend school, where community members volunteer and where people retire. Importantly, it is where people connect with others and access services when required. This diagram explains how different approaches can all have a focus on place to varying degrees and intensity of effort. Place-based approaches. Place-based approaches are highly collaborative and involve a range of partners working together on complex problems. They include most if not all of the common place-based elements and have a strong focus on people and place, for example Logan Together (collective impact), Aurukun Four-Point Plan, and elements of the Strategic Blueprint for North West Minerals Province. As place-based approaches are designed to meet the unique requirements of the local community, they come in all shapes and sizes. However, they do tend to display a number of common features or elements including: meaningful engagement with community stakeholders and taking a strengths approach, joined-up ways of working with a systems view of people and place, local decision-making and flexibility, use of quality data and information to guide decisions, building the readiness of all community stakeholders, appropriate governance arrangements to support local action, monitoring and measuring impacts, long-term focus. Other approaches that focus on place. Other approaches, while not strictly place-based approaches, can also have a strong focus on place. Place-specific approaches generally involve more than one Queensland Government agency and takes into account the particular circumstances of people in place. These approaches can demonstrate many of the elements of place-based approaches, for example Community Hubs and Partnerships (CHaPs), Cairns Safer Streets and Disaster Management and Recovery. Place-sensitive approaches generally involve one Queensland Government agency planning and delivering initiatives and services in ways which pay particular attention to the particular circumstances of people in place. These approaches can demonstrate some of the elements of place-based approaches.

  1. Place-based approaches

    Place-based approaches are highly collaborative and involve a range of partners working together on complex problems. They include most if not all of the common place-based elements and have a strong focus on people and place, for example Logan Together (collective impact), Aurukun Four-Point Plan, and elements of the Strategic Blueprint for North West Minerals Province.

    Collective impact

    Collective impact is one type of place-based approach, at the more complex end of the spectrum, used to respond to complex communities facing multiple challenges. It is a progressive, staged approach to problem solving that requires multiple organisations from different sectors to align with a shared agenda and mutually reinforcing activities to achieve significant and lasting social change.

    One distinguishing feature of collective impact is a backbone organisation (also known as a facilitating partner) with dedicated staff whose role is to help participating organisations shift from acting alone to working together and with community (source: Australian Institute of Family Studies).

    Collective impact is not business as usual, and can take many years to secure long-term, sustainable change. There is no agreed or consistent timeframe that defines collective impact progress.
  2. Other approaches that focus on place

    Other approaches, while not strictly place-based approaches, can also have a strong place focus and often display some of the common characteristics of place-based approaches.

    Place-specific approaches

    Place-specific approaches generally involve more than one Queensland Government agency and take into account the particular circumstances of people in place. These approaches can demonstrate many of the elements of place-based approaches, for example Community Hubs and Partnerships (CHaPs), Cairns Safer Streets (PDF) and Disaster Management and Recovery.

    Place-sensitive approaches

    Place-sensitive approaches generally involve one Queensland Government agency planning and delivering initiatives and services in ways which pay particular attention to the particular circumstances of people in place. These approaches can demonstrate some of the elements of place-based approaches.

 

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