Research & Biography

Robert J. Chaskin is Professor and Deputy Dean for Strategic Initiatives and holds the UNESCO Chair for Inclusive Urbanism at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. His research interests include community organizing and development, community social organization, comprehensive community initiatives, youth development, associations and nonprofits, philanthropy and social change, social housing policy, knowledge utilization and evaluation, and cross-national research. In addition to his role at SSA, Professor Chaskin has worked with Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago since 1990 where he is currently an Affiliated Scholar. At SSA, Professor Chaskin teaches courses on social policy, community development, and program implementation and on theories and strategies of community change. He was recently a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Professor Chaskin's work focuses on the conceptual foundations and principal strategies of contemporary community intervention in the context of urban poverty. He has written widely on the topics of neighborhood intervention, community capacity building, and the dynamics of participatory planning and neighborhood governance. His research focuses on social policy and community practice in two principal ways: through grounded investigations of particular interventions and through synthetic, cross-intervention analyses. To date, Professor Chaskin's work has evolved along three major lines. The first is concerned with theories of community and social policy responses to urban poverty, the second focuses strategies of community change with a particular focus on participatory planning and democratic governance at the neighborhood level, and the third is concerned with the application of knowledge to inform community practice and policy.

Among other projects, he is completing work on a multi-year, multi-site study of public housing reform in Chicago, with a particular focus on the emerging mixed-income developments being built in several Chicago neighborhoods on the footprint of former public housing developments, as well as a study of the New Communities Program, a community development effort underway in 16 Chicago neighborhoods. His latest book, Integrating the Inner City: The Promise and Perils of Mixed-Income Public Housing Transformation (with Mark Joseph), is available from the University of Chicago Press. Most recently, he is conducting research on the civic and political engagement of marginalized urban youth in Belfast, Dublin, and London with support from a Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowship from the European Commission, and is preparing to embark on a research project focused on slum clearance and social housing policy in Mumbai.

Professor Chaskin received his A.M. in Anthropology and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago.