This NY Times article on upward mobility quotes a study showing that where you live plays a big role in determining economic opportunity. This leads some to believe that moving is the answer but the article concludes that
For all the benefits that moves can bring, they are not a solution to poverty, said people who have seen the new paper as well as the researchers themselves. Finding ways to improve those neighborhoods, for people who cannot or do not want to move, is also important, researchers and policy makers said.
This reminds me that 50 years ago after the 1965 unrest in Los Angeles, the Watts Labor Community Action Committee(WLCAC) was founded with the motto Don’t Move – Improve. Studies by researchers and policy makers can be helpful but did we really need to wait 50 years to be told about something someone in the village had already done? Look around you, find a problem, come up with a solution, use family, friends and the web to find the intellectual and monetary capital to implement it. While the steps are pretty simple, committing to see it through takes a great effort.