Course: Political Economy of Public Health

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Case Study Abstract:

The Communities for Change (C4C) program sought to strengthen and stabilize neighborhoods in Baltimore by connecting visionary leaders of community-led and community-owned neighborhood development to new resources and skills. Impact Hub Baltimore (IHB) and its organizing partners co-designed the C4C program; invited diverse stakeholders to participate; and led a structured 8-week process of collaborative learning. Weekly meetings built a collective understanding of neighborhood development models, historic challenges, and each participant’s role in overcoming those challenges. Learning sessions sought to build systems awareness, leadership skills, and trusted relationships to advance fresh solutions to the complex challenges of housing stability and neighborhood development. Participants learned the value of deep listening, building empathy, and prototyping solutions. At the end of the eight weeks, one group formed around a multi-faceted prototype for regenerative neighborhoods and has begun a neighborhood development initiative with the values of community-ownership and leadership at its core. The C4C program sought to strengthen and stabilize neighborhoods in Baltimore by connecting visionary leaders of community-led and community-owned neighborhood development to new resources and skills. IHB and its organizing partners co-designed the C4C program, invited diverse stakeholders to participate, and led a structured 8-week process of collaborative learning. Weekly meetings built a collective understanding of neighborhood development models, historic challenges, and each participant’s role in overcoming those challenges. Learning sessions sought to build systems awareness, leadership skills, and trusted relationships to advance fresh solutions to the complex challenges of housing stability and neighborhood development. Participants learned the value of deep listening, building empathy, and prototyping solutions. At the end of the eight weeks, one group formed around a multi-faceted prototype for regenerative neighborhoods and has begun a neighborhood development initiative with the values of community-ownership and leadership at its core.

This case narrative describes the program design of C4C, its implementation process, and the resulting ideas and relationships it produced. This case challenges students to identify strengths and weaknesses of the C4C program design, examine its operational successes and missteps; and explore methods to convene collective learning cohorts, develop grassroots leadership, and advance meaningful systems change . While this specific case involves neighborhood development in Baltimore, its lessons apply to a wide range of social entrepreneurs and innovators seeking to implement strategies for real and lasting social impact.

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