Project Purpose

The goal of the System Dynamics Model of Youth Violence in Boston project is to create a system dynamics model of youth violence in Boston which reflects reality, has predictive and analytical value, and incorporates input and feedback from community stakeholders.

Ultimately, we are doing this project to improve the quality of life of every resident of Boston regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic class or any other defining characteristic. By increasing our understanding of the system dynamics of youth violence in Boston, including plausible outcomes for different actions taken, we will have stronger communication, agreement and cooperation around a community-wide response to youth violence in Boston. We believe this will result in a safer, healthier city for everyone. 

Another goal of the Youth Violence Systems Project is to be a catalyst for increased dialogue among a cross-section of stakeholders about youth violence in Boston. YVSP is a community learning process that seeks to represent and understand the neighborhood perspectives on the mechanisms that drive youth violence. This understanding is combined with academic research, institutional data and the perspective of youth work professionals to develop a computer simulation model that describes the interconnected systems that influence youth violence in Boston. 

YVSP is using primary and secondary research from three Boston neighborhoods that have high levels of youth violence, as well research and data from the fields of medicine, education, criminal justice, economics and youth development, also factoring in the input of youth workers, clergy, community leaders, youth (including victims and perpetrators of violence) and families. YVSP uses an iterative development process: each new phase incorporates a deepening understanding of the system dynamics of youth violence and reflects increasing model complexity and stakeholder input.

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