Project Title: Michigan's Youth Violence Prevention Center

Faculty Sponsor: Susan Franzen

Department: Prevention Research Center/School of Public Health, UM-Ann Arbor

Telephone: 810.239.3463


Project Description: The Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center, part of the U-M School of Public Health (Ann Arbor), studies how improving vacant properties in three U.S. cities affects violence, property crimes and intentional injuries among youth. The center will focus on the effects of engaging residents, particularly young people, in caring for properties in their neighborhoods.

We make assessments of properties in the city of Flint and conduct door to door surveys of Flint residents. We will test the greening hypothesis and busy streets theory (the latter a concept we developed), which suggests that if we take care of abandoned, empty lots in our inner cities, clean them up and create space for positive social interaction, we can help create safer streets. This change occurs because people will interact in positive ways, develop greater connection and take pride in their neighborhoods, and, ultimately, because the community is empowered to 'take back the streets.

Student Tasks & Responsibilities: This is great opportunity for hands on experience for pre-med, heath care/health education, social sciences, urban planning or  geography students (All majors can apply). Lots of opportunity for learning and skill building. Although we are based in Ann Arbor, we have a field office in the Northbank Center.

GIS Technician(s): Use the skill you learn in ArcGIS class to help us make maps.  Maps for analytical purposes and maps to support our survey technicians and property assessment work.  May also help track study records and other office duties as assigned.

Research Assistant(s):  Help maintain study records. Enter and analyze data.  Opportunities for field work collecting data. Possible work on publications and creating conference presentations.

Minimum Student Qualifications:

1) A desire to help make Flint a safer place
2) GIS techs need at least one class using ArcGIS
3) Excel, word and powerpoint
4) A class in statistics and SPSS helpful.