THE URBAN INSTITUTE News Release
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SUSAN POPKIN TO HEAD THE URBAN INSTITUTE’S
NEW PROGRAM ON NEIGHBORHOODS AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 22, 2009 -- Susan J. Popkin, a senior fellow in the Urban Institute’s Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center and an expert on public housing, has been named the director of the Institute’s new Program on Neighborhoods and Youth Development.
Scholars from across the Institute will explore how neighborhood contexts interact with youths’ personal, family, school, and other circumstances to influence the transition to adulthood, including childbearing, family formation, education, and employment. A major program goal is to start a longitudinal study so researchers from many fields can assess how community characteristics affect young people at different life stages.
The new program’s first study will investigate how neighborhood factors can create a coercive sexual environment for adolescent girls, fostering abusive relationships and risky sexual behavior.
“A better understanding of these factors should lead to more effective prevention and intervention strategies,” Popkin said. “Sharp increases in teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections highlight the urgency of helping our most vulnerable youth.”
Since joining the Urban Institute in 1998, Popkin has studied the effects of significant shifts in federal policy on public- and assisted-housing families. Her research includes the HOPE VI Panel Study, the first large-scale, systematic look at outcomes for families involuntarily relocated from public housing; the Chicago Family Case Management Demonstration, which tested the benefits and cost-effectiveness of intensive services for the most troubled public-housing residents; and a multicity study of the Moving to Opportunity Demonstration.
Popkin, who holds a doctorate in human development and social policy from Northwestern University, was the lead author of The Hidden War: Crime and the Tragedy of Public Housing in Chicago. She is a coauthor of Public Housing Transformation: The Legacy of Segregation and the forthcoming Moving to Opportunity: The Story of an American Experiment to Fight Ghetto Poverty.
“The Urban Institute has a long history of path-breaking research exploring how neighborhoods and the lives of their young residents intersect,” said Robert Reischauer, the president of the Urban Institute. “With Sue Popkin at its helm, the Program on Neighborhoods and Youth Development will provide a coherent, coordinated research platform for this vital area of inquiry.”
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