2017 Seed Grants

21CC’s applied research grants support interdisciplinary teams of Hopkins faculty and researchers working in partnership with a city or community partner on new, short-term research of urban policies or programs related to neighborhood transformation. In May 2017, 21CC awarded six seed grants under the second round of the 21CC Applied Research Seed Grant Program. The projects focus on the three urban policy areas discussed at the inaugural 21CC national symposium held in September 2016:  1) mixed-income neighborhood development, 2) safe and healthy neighborhoods, and 3) economic opportunity, inclusion, and growth.

Mixed-Income Neighborhoods


Alternative Models of Housing Development Programs in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Research Team Leads:

Juan Obarrio, Phd, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Valeria Procupez, Phd, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Anthropology, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Maria Carla Rodriguez, Research Director, Area of Urban Studies, School of Social Sciences, University of Buenos Aires

City/Community Partners: MOI (Movimiento de Ocupantes e Inquilinos/Movement of Squatters and Tenants), Buenos Aires, Argentina

Description: Since the 1990s, Buenos Aires has undergone a reconfiguration of its urban environment, verified in the exacerbation of social polarization as a result of processes of redevelopment, transnational investment, land valorization, privatization of urban services, and gentrification. This has resulted in a rising number of evictions, contestation, and struggles for urban space. This project aims to study the impact of the Program for Self-managed Housing, a small, experimental, community based government housing program as one among other instruments aimed at alleviating urban poverty and countering the severe housing deficit in the city. The study involves both longitudinal and comparative perspectives encompassing six different cases of program implementation.

Improving Interethnic Social Cohesion by Promoting Latino Participation in Neighborhood Associations

Research Team Leads:

Marco Grados, MD, MPH, Associate Professor, Clinical Director, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, School of Medicine

Marcelo Batkis, MD, Medical Director, Dual-Diagnosis Program, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine

Christine Eith, Phd, Assistant Professor, School of Education

Sadie Peters, MD, Staff Physician, Johns Hopkins Community Physicians

Donna Fallon Batkis, MSSW, MPM, Senior Psychotherapist, Hispanic Clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital

City/Community Partners: Baltimore City Council Member Zeke Cohen, First District Representative

Description: Research suggests that social cohesion, critical to safe neighborhoods, can be cultivated through civic engagement. Little is known about how intentionally including Latino immigrants in neighborhood associations affects the community’s ability to address violence and crime, or how such inclusion affects social cohesion. The project will use observation, surveys, and interviews to examine barriers to Latino participation in local neighborhood associations. The team will facilitate intergroup meetings, measure civic engagement and record perceptions of social cohesion.

The School and Housing Market Relationship in an Era of Choice

Research Team Leads:

Jeffrey Grigg, Phd, Assistant Professor, School of Education, Baltimore Education Research Consortium

Marc Stein, Phd, Associate Professor, School of Education

City/Community Partners: Baltimore City Public School System and Baltimore City Department of Planning

Description: The decoupling of school attendance from residential location in districts with school choice poses both challenges and opportunities. Predicting enrollments, especially for individual schools, has become more challenging. However, it offers an opportunity to better understand how families make enrollment choices in the absence of residential constraints. Using longitudinal housing market, demographic, and school enrollment data, researchers from Hopkins will collaborate with planners from the City of Baltimore Planning Department and the Baltimore City Public School System to produce updated enrollment projection models. These models will offer insight into the evolving relation between housing and school enrollment.

Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods


Health in All Policies: Evaluating the Use of Alcohol Outlet Zoning Policy to Improve Health, Safety, and Economic Conditions in Urban Neighborhoods

Research Team Leads:

Rachel Thornton, MD, Phd, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Department of Health, Behavior, and Society, Bloomberg School of Public Health

Jacky Jennings, Phd, MPH, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology, School of Medicine

Christina Stacy, Phd, Senior Research Associate, Urban Institute

City/Community Partners: Baltimore City Department of Planning and Baltimore Department of Housing and Community Development

Description: The Baltimore City Council recently approved a new zoning code ordinance that includes provisions addressing the location, distribution, and density of alcohol outlets. Alcohol outlets are known crime attractors that can negatively impact population health and may also affect neighborhood economic conditions. The team proposes to develop a comprehensive and practical framework for assessing the impact of Baltimore’s new alcohol outlet zoning policies on the health, safety, and economic conditions of residents living in the affected neighborhoods. This framework will be relevant to other jurisdictions’ efforts to evaluate how various policies and programs affect residents’ health and well-being.

Public Health Impacts and Implications of Targeted Neighborhood Revitalization—Lessons from Baltimore’s Vacants to Value (V2V) Program

Research Team Leads:

Joel Gittelsohn, Phd, Professor, Department of International Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health

Yeeli Mui, MPH, Doctoral Candidate, Department of International Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health

Joseph Schilling, Senior Researcher, Urban Institute

City/Community Partners: Baltimore Housing and Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance

Description: In 2010, Baltimore launched the Vacants to Value (V2V) program to target vacant and substandard properties for renovation and transfer to new owners. The health impacts of such urban initiatives are unknown. This study will lay the groundwork for a future Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of V2V by conducting mixed-methods formative research. The team will develop case studies comparing V2V’s efforts in Community Development Cluster neighborhoods and interview city officials, nonprofits, and private developers to gather insights and preliminary impacts of V2V. This work will generate a dataset inventory, stakeholder inventory, and code enforcement process map to conduct the future planned HIA.

Economic Opportunity, Inclusion, and Growth


How Information and Future Expectations Affect Educational Investments among Low-Income Youth in Baltimore

Research Team Leads:

Stefanie DeLuca, Phd, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Nicholas Papageorge, Phd, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Seth Gershenson, Phd, Associate Professor, Department of Public Administration and Policy, School of Public Affairs, American University

City/Community Partners: Baltimore City Public School System and Baltimore City Community College

Description: Low-income Baltimore youth often pursue short-term degrees from for-profit programs instead of more lucrative four-year college degrees. The team proposes to explore an under-studied explanation. Low-income students face instability in their lives, often leading to interruptions and, possibly, derailment of four-year degrees. Anticipating this possibility, students opt for shorter degrees. The study will identify which adverse events lead to interruptions. Moreover, working with two community partners, Baltimore City Public Schools and Baltimore City Community College, the team will design interventions that prevent interruptions from derailing educational pathways.