International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Community Development and Planning (CDP)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Kathryn Madden

Second Reader

Anita Fábos


This paper examines refugee resettlement practices at the neighborhood level, asking what neighborhood characteristics are conducive to achieving positive integration and housing stability outcomes. Using data from a quantitative study of refugee resettlement case files from Ascentria Care Alliance as a foundation, this research takes the form of an analysis of the Bell Hill neighborhood in Worcester, MA, a major resettlement destination. Using Ascentria data, secondary data sources such as US Census data and the Worcester Assessor’s Database, and site visits, this paper constructs a profile of Bell Hill along four major dimensions: community characteristics, housing, social infrastructure, and physical infrastructure. The results paint a picture of a diverse neighborhood in terms of residents, housing stock, amenities, and businesses that likely primes refugees for integration success. The paper concludes with a recommendation that resettlement agencies consider neighborhood characteristics, especially along the lines of those found in Bell Hill, as a key part of their refugee placement strategy.



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