Major Study of Buffalo's Block Clubs to be Presented Tonight

Release Date: May 31, 2006

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo Department of Sociology and the City of Buffalo Division of Citizens' Services will present the "Community Update and Forum on Block Clubs in Buffalo" today (Wednesday, May 31, 2006) from 6-8 p.m. at the Belmont Shelter Center, 1195 Main St., Buffalo.

The presentation is the first major public presentation and the final report of Part I of the Buffalo Area Neighborhood Study (BANS) being conducted by an ethnographic research team headed by Peter K.B. St. Jean, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology and law at UB.

This part of the study, is titled "Good Neighbors: Block Clubs and Quality of Life in Buffalo, N.Y.," and will be published next year.

Representatives of UB and the City of Buffalo, including Mayor Byron Brown, will update block club members on the state of the study and solicit feedback from them.

Brief remarks will be made by Oswaldo Mestre, Jr., director of citizen services in the Office of the Mayor; Mayor Brown; Vince Clark, director, Community Relations at UB, and Michael Farrell, professor and chair of the UB Department of Sociology,

At around 6:30 p.m., St. Jean will begin the report by speaking on "The Logic of Collective Action in Buffalo." Three graduate students on his team will follow with reports on specific issues:

* "Enhancing Neighborhoods for Children: Foster Homes and Block Clubs in Buffalo, N.Y.," by L. Daisy Henderson

* "Who's Doing What? Gender and Neighborhood Organizing through Block Clubs in Buffalo, N.Y.," by Cassi Meyerhoffer, presented by St. Jean

* "Thinking Beyond Immediate Space: Types of Collaboration Involving Block Clubs in Buffalo, N.Y.," by J. Clarke Gocker.

A 30-minute question-and-answer period will precede closing remarks by Mestre and St. Jean.

The second part of the BANS project, uses Buffalo neighborhoods as a laboratory in an ethnographic study of criminal behavior in relation to social and physical neighborhood environments. This study is still in progress, but addresses, among other things, impacts of mass incarceration on neighborhoods.

In 2002, St. Jean completed a major ethnographic study of crime and its victims in one of Chicago's most violent and dreaded South-Side neighborhoods. Titled "Not on My Block: The Criminogenic Life-course of Micro Neighborhoods on Chicago's South Side," it will be published next year by the University of Chicago Press, but already has garnered international recognition the author.

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