Cities & Kids

How can America’s cities best enable the optimal development of their most vulnerable residents – children?

Cities & Kids: Enabling Optimal Development for Urban Youth, hosted by the Boston University Initiative on Cities and the Boston University School of Public Health, brought together government officials, public health professionals, youth and family advocates, and youth to learn and share ideas for how cities can help children achieve their full development potential.


Thursday March 23

Opening Remarks

· Graham Wilson – Director and Professor, Boston University Initiative on Cities
· Dean Sandro Galea – Dean and Robert A. Knox Professor, Boston University School of Public Health

Foundational Discussion: The State of Urban Youth in America

This keynote discussion provided 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

Panel 1: The Family Environment

This panel explored the supports that foster a healthy family environment where parents and caregivers are engaged in and contributing to positive child development and resiliency. Issues of economic, mental and physical well-being were explored, along with cognitive, social and emotional development.

· Ruth Paris – Associate Professor of Social Work, Boston University

· Megan Bair-Merritt, MD – Associate Professor and pediatrician, Boston University School of Medicine, and Associate Director of the Division of General Pediatrics and Fellowship Director, Boston Medical Center
· Michele Brooks – Principal Consultant, Transformative Solutions in Education
· Susan Clampet-Lundquist – Associate Professor of Sociology, Saint Joseph’s University
· Cherie Craft – Founding Executive Director, Smart from the Start

Panel 2: The Built and Natural Environment

This panel explored the ways in which the built environment of cities, from public parks to housing to transportation networks, can support a vibrant, active and safe childhood for urban youth. Panelists also discussed the role various stakeholders, whether public, private, or academic, may play in contributing to vibrant places for children to learn, grow and play.

· Katharine Lusk – Executive Director, Initiative on Cities, Boston University

· Louise Chawla – Professor Emerita of Environmental Design, University of Colorado-Boulder
· Sandra Henriquez – Chief Operating Officer, Rebuilding Together
· Jonathan Levy – Professor of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health
View presentation
· Hannah Wright – Urban Planner, Masterplanning & Computation, Arup, Amsterdam

Lunch Keynote: 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

Panel 3: The Community Environment

· Cliff Johnson – Executive Director, Institute for Youth, Education and Families, National League of Cities

· Renée Boynton-Jarrett, MD – Associate Professor, pediatrician and social epidemiologist, Boston University School of Medicine
· Commissioner William Evans – Police Commissioner, City of Boston
· Conan Harris – Director of My Brother’s Keeper Initiative and Deputy Director of Public Safety Initiatives, City of Boston
· Jonathan Zaff – Research Associate Professor, Boston University School of Education