ECDAN

Place Matters: The Environment We Create Shapes the Foundations of Healthy Development

March 2023The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University have released a new working paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, entitled: Place Matters: The Environment We Create Shapes the Foundations of Healthy Development. The paper continues the Center’s growing focus on upstream, systemic factors that shape the conditions in which families are raising young children. More specifically, it examines the role of the built and natural environments in shaping children’s development and lifelong health in positive and negative ways, with a particular focus on how systemic racism has influenced historic and current policies and practices that have resulted in the inequitable distribution of risk and opportunity across communities. The paper also emphasizes how the latest science can help deepen our understanding of these issues and—combined with community expertise and fresh thinking across an array of policy domains—offers promising opportunities to re-design environments so that all children can grow up in homes and neighborhoods free of hazards and rich with opportunity.