Community Science has worked closely with Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) to support the expansion of its neighborhood revitalization strategy and to deepen the field’s understanding of best practices for improving neighborhood quality of life. This work builds on HFHI’s previous investment in developing and refining its model for neighborhood revitalization, the Quality of Life Framework (QLF). To support HFHI’s learning, Community Science is conducting a five-year outcomes and implementation evaluation in partnership with the Center for Urban and Regional Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We are observing the ten participating coalitions as they implement the framework and are providing technical assistance to these local communities as they collect data from residents. We are also advising HFHI Neighborhood Revitalization staff as they consider the best ways to modify the evaluation design so that it is accessible to HFHI affiliates who may not have an external evaluator to guide them.
In keeping with the QLF’s expected pathway of change — that coalitions of local organizations and resident leaders (often supported by a local HFHI affiliate) can foster a sense of community among residents that then spurs their collective action to improve neighborhood quality of life — Community Science has designed a study that draws on in-person surveys of residents, observations of neighborhood building and block conditions, and secondary data (e.g., physicians practicing in or within a half mile of neighborhood, number of employees by industry type). The cross-case study design draws upon quantitative and qualitative data to assess how coalitions’ capacity to implement the QLF approach changed, whether HFHI’s technical assistance to communities was effective in supporting QLF implementation, and whether foundational and sector outcomes (e.g., amenities, economic opportunities, education, health, housing, safety, and transportation) improved in pilot neighborhoods.