Growing up in disenfranchised neighborhoods can make life extremely difficult for an adolescent between the ages of thirteen to twenty. A disenfranchised adolescent has to deal with hardships such as poverty, criminal behavior, and/or students dropping out of school. All of this has an impact on the youth and they themselves may participate in some of these activities. This analysis attempts to see if community centers can create positive outcomes for the disenfranchised adolescents that live in these conditions. The factors that affect youth development were first analyzed in order to see how strong of an influence these factors had on the adolescent’s lives. The factors are socioeconomic status, family and family structure, neighborhood, and institutions. Following this, different types of community centers were discussed as well as how they affect the above factors that affect youth development. For the analysis eight neighborhoods, four with community center and four without, were compared to see if the presence of a community center had an effect on the educational attainment of the adolescents residing there. This study concluded that when looking at community centers on a neighborhood level, there is little to no impact. However, the outcomes and self-assessments show that centers make a huge impact on an individual level which gives reason for expansion.


Burnell, James


Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning


Community centers, youth, disenfranchisement

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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