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US-China Forum 2021: Addressing Inequality and Promoting Social Welfare

Robert J. Chaskin

Photo of Professor Robert J. Chaskin

Robert J. Chaskin

McCormick Foundation Professor

Deputy Dean for Strategic Initiatives

Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice

The University of Chicago

Robert J. Chaskin’s 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.      

Chaskin's work focuses on the conceptual foundations and principal strategies of social policy and 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 democratic governance at the neighborhood level, among other topics.

He has recently completed 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. This project culminated in the book Integrating the Inner City: The Promise and Perils of Mixed-Income Public Housing Transformation (with Mark Joseph, The University of Chicago Press, 2015), which received the Honorable Mention for the Best Book in Urban Affairs Award from the Urban Affairs Association. His latest book (edited with Bong Joo Lee and Surinder Jaswal), Social Exclusion in Cross-National Perspective: Actors, Actions, and Impacts from Above and Below, was published by Oxford University Press in 2019.

Chaskin is currently conducting research on slum clearance and social housing policy in Mumbai, India, with colleagues from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and is embarking on work focused on urbanization and migration in China with colleagues at the Crown Family School, Peking University, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Chaskin was inducted into the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare in 2020. He received his AM in anthropology and PhD in sociology from the University of Chicago.