Why are some neighborhoods characterized by deep social divisions and violence while others thrive? Why do most cities exhibit sharp neighborhood differences in wealth and poverty, often cheek by jowl as captured in Henry Zorbaugh's classic study from the 1920s, The Gold Coast and the Slum? What are the causes and consequences of today’s Division Street, U.S.A.?
For much of his career, Professor Sampson has explored what he calls the "enduring neighborhood effect." Much of this research stems from a largescale and still ongoing study, the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN). Originating in the early 1990s, the PHDCN was designed to advance understanding of the developmental and contextual pathways of human behavior. To date, the PHDCN has examined delinquency, violence, criminal justice contacts, teenage sexuality, substance abuse, compounded deprivation, residential mobility, and mental health, among many other outcomes. The Project also provided a detailed look at the social environments in which human development takes place by collecting innovative data about Chicago neighborhoods and institutions, including from surveys, systematic videotaping of streets, and key informant interviews. The community data and the first three waves of the longitudinal study are public and have been used by researchers around the world. For more, see Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect. For PHDCN-related publications see also ICPSR, vita and visit here.