Carrie LeVan, Montgoris Family Assistant Professor of Government

Neighborhoods and Neighbors in Communities of Color

This project will examine how the design features (i.e. presence of gridded streets, sidewalks, treelined streets, porches, green space, etc.) of majority-minority neighborhoods affects the social and political behavior of the people who live there.  I have been a member of a collective of scholars who has released a national survey (Collaborative Multiracial Post-Elections Survey—CMPS) that oversamples Black, Latino(a)(x), and Asian respondents and provides each respondent’s census tract.  To this survey, I would like to add measurements of each respondent’s neighborhood design. My summer research assistants would be asked to help me code these features.  We would locate each census tract in Google Street View and code the presence/absence of architectural features that scholars have argued help improve civic, social, economic, and physical well-being.  This will be a large data collection project.  I am hoping to code at least a thousand unique census tracts and dozens of features for each one.  

The primary questions of this project asks:  How does the built environment affect the political behavior (i.e. attitudes, participation, opinions) of People of Color?  Are People of Color who live in neighborhoods with an interactive design more likely to talk with their neighbors, more likely to vote, more likely to volunteer?  Are they more likely to be satisfied with their neighborhood, happier with life, more trusting of government, display higher political efficacy?

In order to answer these questions, I first need to code the design of respondents’ neighborhoods. The summer RA program will help me accomplish this task.