A large body of research has shown that the neighborhood environment is an important developmental setting for youth. However, there remains a need for deeper qualitative accounts of how youth perceive and experience the neighborhood environment. This study elicited youths' perspectives on their neighborhood environment and its implications for their well-being using Participatory Photo Mapping (PPM), a method that integrates photography, community mapping, and walk-along interviews. Participants (n=6) were black youth age 14–19 recruited from a youth program in Boston, Massachusetts. Participants designed neighborhood tours and through their analysis of the photographs and maps created on those tours, reflected primarily on the stark juxtapositions between lower-income areas of the community and an influx of new construction and neighborhood changes. They also focused on the social and physical environmental features present in lower income areas of the community, honing in on both youth-supporting aspects and those that impede their opportunities such as violence. These findings suggest the importance of understanding youths' perceptions of their neighborhood residential environments and the implications of these perceptions for neighborhood and youth well-being.
Children and Youth Services Review – Elsevier
Published: Nov 1, 2017
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