Cities & Kids: Enabling Optimal Development for Urban Youth

Thursday, March 23, 2017

8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
1 Silber Way, 9th floor
Trustees Lounge
Boston University
Boston, MA 02215

Please Register Public officials and current BU faculty, staff, and students, can use the code CK17 for free registration.

More than 80% of American youth live in urban areas. And each day, children who live, play and go to school in cities are shaped by their built, natural and social environments. How do cities help some of their most vulnerable residents – children – achieve their full development potential? What social and structural supports are critical to achieving optimal development? What innovative interventions, beyond those offered in school settings, are being deployed today to close outcome gaps?

This one day conference, hosted by the Boston University Initiative on Cities and the Boston University School of Public Health, will bring together government officials, public health professionals, youth and family advocates, and youth. Together, they will explore the unique challenges posed by urban living, and the ways in which cities spur and enable the positive urban environments that children need to thrive.


8 a.m.

8:30 a.m.
Opening Remarks

8:45 a.m.
Foundational Discussion: The State of Urban Youth in America

This keynote discussion will provide insight into the challenges confronting urban youth in the U.S. Who are they? What are the greatest health and developmental threats they face? What crises loom? Is there cause for optimism about their futures?

Patrick McCarthy – President and CEO, Annie E. Casey Foundation

9:30 a.m.
Panel 1: The Family Environment

This panel will explore the supports necessary to enable a healthy family environment, where constructive parenting and care, financial stability and nutritious food is the norm rather than the exception.

Megan Bair-Merritt – Associate Professor and pediatrician, Boston University

Michele Brooks – Former superintendent, Boston Public Schools and founder, Parent University, Boston Public Schools

Susan Clampet-Lundquist – Associate Professor of Sociology, Saint Joseph’s University

Cherie Craft – Founding Executive Director, Smart from the Start

10:45 a.m.

11:00 a.m.
Panel 2: The Built & Natural Environment

This panel will explore the ways in which the built environment of cities, from public parks to housing to transportation networks, can be designed to support a vibrant, active and safe childhood for urban youth.

Louise Chawla – Professor Emeritus of Environmental Design, University of Colorado at Boulder

Sandra Henriquez – Chief Operating Officer, Rebuilding Together

Jonathan Levy – Professor of Environmental Health, Boston University

Hannah Wright – Senior Planner, ARUP

12:15 p.m.

1:00 p.m.

Setting an Urban Youth Agenda

Mayor Michael Nutter – former Mayor of Philadelphia and David N. Dinkins Professor of Professional Practice in Urban and Public Affairs, Columbia University

1:45 p.m.

2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Panel 3: The Community Environment

This panel will explore the community and social supports critical to nurturing and protecting healthy, resilient youth in America’s cities.

Dr. Renee Boynton-Jarrett – Associate Professor, pediatrician and social epidemiologist, Boston University

Commissioner William Evans – Police Commissioner, City of Boston

Conan Harris – Director of My Brother’s Keeper and Deputy Director of Public Safety Initiatives, City of Boston

Jonathan Zaff – Research Associate Professor, Boston University and Executive Director, Center for Promise

3:15 p.m.
Closing Remarks