Abstract Three hundred seventy-nine youths from an inner city elementary school were surveyed to determine their perceptions of their neighborhood. Using a qualitative, word association format, older students responded to 20 descriptive words (e.g., dirty, safe, quiet, dangerous) while younger youths drew pictures in response to three words (safe, sad, happy). Using content analysis techniques, findings indicated that the youths found neighborhood areas and residents that were perceived as safe, quiet, beautiful, friendly, fun/happy, and helpful. However, safety issues and a dirty, noisy neighborhood also emerged as major themes. Collaborative initiatives focusing on cleaning up the neighborhood and reducing violence are suggested, as are areas of intervention and further research.