How to Evaluate a Third Sector Approach to Place-Based Poverty Reduction: A Case Study of Pathways to Education
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This dissertation examines how to evaluate a place-based poverty reduction program across different sites and scales. Unpacking urban planning’s dominant, normative construction of poverty, neighbourhoods, youth, and evaluation, this thesis presents an alternative view of evaluation, which recognizes the complexity and diversity of qualitative narratives describing the impacts of targeted human service programs on the places and peoples they serve. To answer this question, I crafted a theoretical framework linking the concept of the right to the city as presented by Lefebvre (1996), to Uri Bronfenbrenner’s (1977, 1979), 1995) understanding of the micro, macro, and meso systems in which children and youth operate. I then conducted a small-scale, qualitative case study of Pathways to Education Canada as it replicated and expanded, to examine and explore different ways of evaluating the success of a place-based poverty human service program. Using a participatory methodology, I listened to different stakeholders’ voices, particularly those of youth and staff, to examine and explore tensions in the construction of success.