By the community, for the community.

Projects are led by collaborative leadership teams representing community, government, and acadmia. Projects are birthed when a need is identified by community partners and matched with interests of government and/or academic collaborators. Collaborative leadership teams, supported by students, explore solutions through equity-centered collaborative design (co-design).

Just Engagement
When it comes to promoting equity and inclusion, a lot of attention is placed on legislative action as the mechanism for change. While policy is critical to structural and systemic change, it isn’t the only mechanism. Institutions can start the transformative work through the practices and tools they use for community engagement. We worked with residents from Dorchester and East Boston to understand what community engagement should look like, specifically when it relates to development in Boston. We identified 5 big ideas for promoting equity and inclusion in development through engagement practices. We advocate that the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) begin adopting these practices now, in order to better center Boston’s BIPOC communities in decisions about development in their neighborhoods.

Boston Civic Connect

Originally known as “Intersections,” this project explored civic technology and media interventions to facilitate greater connection among civic leaders in Boston, for the purpose of supporting collaboration across neighborhoods and sectors. Through a series of co-design workshops and activities with civic leaders, the “intersections” team developed and honed Boston Civic Connect as a web-based prototype for the civically active (and the civically curious) to share knowledge, discover collaborators for civic projects, and gain visibility on the local civic ecosystem. If brought to development, Boston Civic Connect will elevate grassroots projects, connect leaders with shared civic interest, and create a learning and knowledge-sharing hub for important civic skills and practices. 

CoDesign Institute
The CoDesign Institute curriculum was developed out of PCGN to prepare students to work with diverse partners, across sectors, in collaborative design projects. It is now an immersive two-week course at Emerson College on codesign methodology and theory intended for students interested in equitably engaging with a variety of stakeholders in the creation process. The course will equip students with the design concepts, methods, and project management tools to effectively collaborate with partner organizations such as municipal government, nonprofit organizations, and grassroots community groups.
Getting Connected
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and we were forced to move social interactions into digital spaces, many of Boston’s most civically engaged residents were left behind. Older Bostonians and those with limited digital skills, including many non-English speakers, could no longer access civic meetings that they once attended in person. Getting Connecting emerged from this community-identified need. Getting Connected is a simple graphic guide meant to equip older Bostonians to connect digitally and participate civically during and post-pandemic. Find guides for Zoom and WebEx in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole here.