U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Urban Institute's Program on Neighborhoods and Youth Development: Understanding How Place Matters for Kids

NCJ Number
Susan J. Popkin; Gregory Acs; Robin Smith
Date Published
13 pages
This paper first presents a brief overview of theory and research on how social and physical context affect the life patterns of children and youth, followed by a discussion of the goals and initial research agenda for the Urban Institute's Program on Neighborhoods and Youth Development (PNYD).
The PNYD's goals are to achieve a better understanding of the dimensions of neighborhood environments linked to negative outcomes for children and youth; to develop targeted interventions based on this research; and to draw lessons from evaluations of housing and community-based interventions in order to inform cost-effective policy initiatives proven to improve outcomes for youth. The overall outcome from the PNYD is to have youth enter adulthood with the skills and resources needed to succeed in the labor market, contribute to civic life, and to develop stable families that provide a positive environment for their children. Key achievement goals for children and youth are in the domains of education (finishing high school and possibly attending or completing college); employment (holding down a job); social skills (developing healthy relationships); and avoiding major obstacles to positive development (having contact with the criminal justice system or having children at a young age outside of marriage). PNTD's efforts to achieve these goals for individuals focuses on identifying and influencing the key features of a neighborhood that influence youth at differing ages according to gender, race, and ethnicity. It will initially focus on three key areas: improving outcomes for adolescent girls in distressed neighborhoods, assessing housing and neighborhood-based interventions aimed at improving outcomes for at-risk youth, and using primary and secondary data at the local and national levels to explore neighborhood influences on health and child outcomes. Details are provided on research agendas in each of these areas. 37 references