Research Objectives

The GUIC-United States team will investigate how the experience and impact of urban environments differs for young people living in different zip codes of the same city, which represent significant disparities in individual and community health indicators. Comparing these young people’s experiences, use and perception of their local environments will help to identify the social and built environmental factors that foster well-being for urban youth; they will also determine which act as barriers to be targeted for improvement. We are collaborating with four communities – Prince George’s County, Maryland; Houston, Texas; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and San Francisco, California. These four communities are the first cohort participating in the UNICEF USA Child Friendly Cities initiative. 

teen center


Phase one focuses on the development of a Community Atlas. The objectives of this atlas include:

  • Analysis of city health indicators & selection of study neighborhoods
  • Identification and relationship building with community partners, such as community organizations and municipal representatives
  • Identification and preliminary research with youth participants, with emphasis placed on identifying issues that are important to local youth
  • Development of digital platforms for engagement and dissemination

The second phase of the project will focus on youth engagement activities to understand the sources of satisfaction and alienation that young people find in their communities and to identify their priorities for design, planning, and policy interventions. 

The third phase of GUIC-US will pursue design or planning interventions which will be based on the desires and interests of the youth participants.