Lack of opportunity, poor nutrition, inadequate education, and healthcare - combined with few assets - contribute to and result from chronic poverty. Too many of Pittsburgh’s African-American population live under conditions of chronic poverty that has often been transmitted from one generation to another. People who remain poor over a long period are likely to raise children who will become poor adults. Poverty persists and becomes inter-generational as the cycle continues. UrbanKind's Dr. Jamil Bey and independent consultant Dr. Stephanie Boddie are currently making the final edits on their paper. Their work provides recommendations and highlights potential polices, programs, and practices that have the potential to break cycles of inter-generational poverty.
Recent Work and Reports
My Brother’s Keeper
In 2016, the Sprout Fund awarded UrbanKind a grant to engage young African American and Latino men to develop strategies to improve life outcomes. The process captured youth input that will help the greater Pittsburgh region close the opportunity gap for young men, and support the acquisition of technological, social, and academic skills to enhance their quality of life and ability to secure future employment.
In a final report, UrbanKind Institute identifies several major and recurring themes that arose from the discussions, particularly as they relate to programming and activities that achieve My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative goals. Be sure to check back here for next steps in the My Brothers Keepers project.
African American Neighborhoods of Choice
African-American Neighborhoods of Choice (AANC) is a Pittsburgh-based research group studying trends among the city’s African-American residents and historically African-American neighborhoods. Much of the discourse and activities proposed by government, elected officials, and others continues to focus on African-American residents living in, or near, poverty. The members of this group, including UrbanKind's President Jamil Bey, wanted to explore the challenges this presented to middle-class African-American professionals who were living in Pittsburgh or moving to the region for educational and professional opportunities. In early 2014 AANC invited the University of Pittsburgh's University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR) into the conversation to help with the investigation.
Since then, AANC have worked to investigate why African-American millennials were leaving Pittsburgh, what various “push and pull factors” of those who stay and those who leave were, and what the desirable characteristics of neighborhoods were that would make African-Americans who have a choice in where they live decide to live there. This work analyzes and gives voice to a silent, underrepresented segment of Pittsburgh's population. The collaborators hope that their work will help stimulate initiatives to support this and other underrepresented groups. Click here to view report.
In October 2016, UrbanKind took center stage at the p4 Conference in Pittsburgh. Hosted by the City of Pittsburgh and Heinz Endowments, this conference brought together 600 local leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors to discuss and build a new model for urban development based on economic and social justice and equity. For this conference, UrbanKind compiled background guides for four conference breakout sessions: “Pittsburgh 2025 – A New Vision of Regional Economic Growth,” “Creating Housing Opportunity and Building Mixed-Income Neighborhoods,” “Most Livable City? Wrestling with the Challenges of Environmental and Public Health,” and “Pittsburgh’s Creatives: Their Role in p4.” These guides are available on our Publications page.
RESEARCH AND POLICY ANALYSIS
On the second day of the conference, UrbanKind Institute's Executive Director, Dr. Jamil Bey, presented findings from UrbanKind’s Friday Forum discussions held earlier in the year and then led all participants in a small-group discussion about equity and inclusion. He challenged participants to take equity personally, to speak out against injustice and against business-as-usual policies that continue to produce inequality, and to commit to a transformational agenda. See Dr. Bey in action in the video to the right.
UrbanKind Institute specializes in applied research and policy analysis that uses a critical, interdisciplinary lens. Broadly, we are interested in questions related to equity and justice. Within this framework, we focus on housing, youth, environment, education, and community and neighborhood development. Rather than see these areas (and others) as isolated, we recognize that all issues are fundamentally interconnected and believe that they must be analyzed as such. To this end, we draw from many disciplines to better understand the issues we study. Our research informs our community and youth engagement projects, which in turn inform our research. In all of our work, we approach questions with a critical eye that gives credit where credit is due and that calls out policies and projects that continue to produce inequity and injustice.
In spring and summer 2016, UrbanKind led an eight-month engagement project in which we spoke with 125 participants, including elected officials, public, private and non-profit practitioners, representatives of community organizations, and other local leaders about justice, equity, and inclusion in the Pittsburgh region. We wanted to know where our region stood in achieving justice, equity, and inclusion, and what challenges and impediments prevented more action and change. After analyzing these conversations, we detailed our findings from these discussions and identified persistent challenges facing the region. Our report is available on our Publications page.