John M. MacDonald


  • From street lights to heat waves, John M. MacDonald (PSC Research Associate) shares his research about the impact of physical environments on crime in the OMNIA article, "Crime and the Scientific Method".  

  • PSC/PARC Researchers Atheendar VenkataramaniCourtney Boen, and John MacDonald are investigators in a new NIH funded project, which includes an unprecedented $10 million over the course of 5 years, to study the impact of environmental and economic interventions on reducing health disparities in Black Philadelphia neighborhoods. At the community level, the study includes tree planting, vacant lot greening, trash cleanup, and rehabilitation of dilapidated, abandoned houses. For households, the study will help connect participants to local, state, and federal social and economic benefits, including food, unemployment, and prescription drug assistance, provide financial counseling and tax preparation services, and offer emergency cash assistance.
    Read more about this project in Penn Medicine News.

  • New research in JAMA Network Open co-authored by John MacDonald (PSC Research Associate) found that increasing the number of houses that received the Philadelphia Basic Systems Repair Program intervention on a block was associated with a dose-dependent decrease in crime. These findings suggest that intentional and targeted financial investment in structural, scalable, and sustainable place-based interventions in neighborhoods that are still experiencing the lasting consequences of structural racism and segregation is a vital step toward achieving health equity. Read more in PlanPhilly.

Penny and Robert A. Fox Faculty Director of the Fels Institute
Professor of Criminology
Professor of Sociology

Ph.D., Criminology, University of Maryland, 1999


  • Penn LDI : John M. MacDonald discusses Policing, Race, and Health - Prospects for Reform
  • Penn Arts and Sciences - OMNIA Podcast : John M. Macdonald on policies and programs which change land of places to greening vacant lots can reduce crime and violence in neighborhoods
  • Penn Arts and Sciences 60-Second Lecture: John M. MacDonald on Using Science to Design Safer and Healthier Cities