The Neighborhood Change Research Initiative (NCRI) involveĀ several projects that utilize North Texas urban areas in research. We seek to understand how neighborhoods change and the consequences of that change on human welfare. For us, a neighborhood is a small geographic area usually less than the area in a circle of radius 1000 feet or approximately 70 acres and in many cases, areas much smaller. Thus, while we work with US Census data, one of the characteristics of NCRI is research at smaller scales than Census geographies. Our research informs scientists and policymakers about the most important drivers of neighborhood change as well as about neighborhood-level policies that can influence neighborhood conditions.

So far, NCRI has focused on four areas of research. First, we are studying the connections between neighborhood and educational outcomes. Where a family lives says a lot about who their children will play with and the physical attributes of their local environment. We suspect that both the influence of geographic peers and local physical conditions are important for educational outcomes. Second, we are examining connections between health outcomes and neighborhood. Once again, we hypothesize that who and what is in the neighborhood are factors in understanding obesity, physical activity and related specific health outcomes. Third, we are looking at various housing issues, including Low Income Housing Tax Credits, foreclosures, scattered-site public housing and Mortgage assisted home ownership. While each of these is interesting in and of itself, we are particularly focused on how housing types impact neighborhoods (and vice versa) and, in turn, how these influence educational outcomes. And, fourth, we are examining how various local initiatives, usually called “economic development” actual do or do not change neighborhood conditions.