Events & Resources

Past Events

Fall 2013 Events

Free Forum—Regionalism: a Global Perspective

The Edge is a forum on urban and planning issues sponsored by MET. It is open to the public and free of charge. This month’s presentation is titled Regionalism: a Global Perspective, and will focus on how regions formed across the world, as well as the challenges faced in those areas. Specifically, this talk will compare the urbanization of both the Boston-metro area and China.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
6 – 8 p.m.
871 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 129

About the speakers:
Author and planner Dr. James C. O’Connell of the Northeast Regional Office of the National Park Service, will speak. His most recent book is The Hub’s Metropolis: Greater Boston’s Suburban Development from Railroad Suburbs to Smart Growth.

Assistant Professor at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Dr. Jinhua Zhao, will also present. His most recent project examines the interaction between governmental policy making and the public’s behavioral response in the context of China’s urban development.

Fall 2011 Events

Cutting Edge Sustainability: Living Systems Theory and Design

A lecture-workshop with Bill Reed, AIA, LEED, HonFIGP, Integrative Design Collaborative & Co-Founder of United States Green Building Council.

Monday, 21 November 2011 6.00 to 9.00 pm
Rm 206, BU Photonics Building (PHO) 8 St. Mary's Street, Boston, MA 02215 (directions)

The lecture-workshop will highlight how the living systems design approach to building and environmental stewardship is pushing the frontiers of applied sustainability.  Mr. Reed will focus on the application of living systems theory and how it contrasts with contemporary approaches to environmental planning. Click here for more details

The Edge: Urban and Regional Conversations at Boston University

The Edge Series Fall 2011: Food & the City

Session One: The Urban Farm Click here for more details

Session Two: Urban Agriculture as Civic Engagement Click here for more details

Session Three: Access: How is food distributed in the city? Click here for more details

Esplanade Fall Clean-Up 2011 Volunteer Opportunity

Saturday, November 5, 11:30am to 2:30pm, Charles River Esplanade
Come help beautify the Esplanade and get it ready for winter! This is an event that our program has traditionally been a part of.

Spring 2011 Events

The 2011 Boston Urban Symposium Disasters: Cities and Planning in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina and Haiti

The theme of the 2011 Symposium was "Disasters: Cities and Planning in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina and Haiti", an in-depth and pro-active exploration into the issues, challenges and opportunities generated by extreme natural occurrences and the social relationships that generate human vulnerability.
This capstone course featured five weekly panels of experts chosen by students based on their semester-long research topic.  The research projects and weekly topics ranged from information technology and disaster response to housing and the management of displaced populations. Click here for course syllabus

First Panel: Are Universities Prepared?

A forecast of sea level rises and an increase in the number and severity of storms have made it necessary for public authorities and private sector actors to consider, if not draft, strategic emergency and disaster plans across Greater Boston.
Universities are not immune to extreme natural hazards.  Yet, the need for these institutions and cities-within-a-city to draft disaster mitigation and recovery plans is not driven solely by concerns for the safety and welfare of their faculty, students and staff.  Universities need to plan for disasters because the region depends on them economically and socially.
One can argue that the resilience of Greater Boston depends on the resilience of its universities.  If this is true, how should universities plan for disaster and who should be involved in these plans? Click here for more details

Second Panel: Getting Out Before the Big One Hits: An Assessment of Communication Within the Evacuation Route Planning Process

Planning to evacuate a dense urban area is an essential responsibility of the local, state, and federal government, and execution of a well-crafted evacuation plan can save lives in a disaster situation.
The communication of evacuation plans and strategies is an essential component in preparing communities to cope with a disaster. However, as experts have noted, beyond just merely providing plans and maps, disaster communication must include dissemination of ''common language and familiarity with the means of preparing for and responding to these threatening scenarios''. In Boston's situation, its evacuation preparedness has largely gone untested. Regardless, there should be a framework to help communities better assess the communication component of their evacuation route planning in order to ensure the best disaster mitigation and preparedness possible. Click here for more details

Third Panel: Shaping the Disaster Agenda: The Role of the Media in Post Disaster Response and Recovery

When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and the levees broke, we quickly gained an impression of the large-scale devastation that the region endured. Regardless of whether we had ever been to New Orleans, we became quite familiar with the city, and particularly some of its neighborhoods, from photos, videos, and news from the media. For most of us, the images of sheer terror and destruction kept the people of New Orleans in our hearts and minds as our eyes stayed glued to the news for weeks and months following the event. The media-generated news stories compelled many to take action and assist in the recovery efforts.
Simply put, the media has the power to shape our understanding of the scale of the disaster with both the images that are chosen to broadcast and the words used to describe the event to the masses. Click here for more details 

Fourth Panel: Breaking the [Crisis] Code: Communication Technology as a First Responder

Information and communication technologies continue to develop around the world, changing our lives and shaping the way that the world works. Relatively new concepts, like social media, have become household terms.
These communication technologies are also presenting themselves during disaster situations, as people naturally turn to them as ways to get information and send their messages to the world. Widespread recent examples of this can be seen in Haiti (SMS texting after the 2010 earthquake), in Egypt and Libya (Twitter during the political/humanitarian conflicts), and in Japan (GIS and people finder during and in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami).
Experts agree that commonalities amongst disasters are conditions of chaos, lack of information, and confusion amongst the public and public officials. Click here for more details

Fifth Panel: Access to Recovery:  Planning for Internally Displaced Persons in the U.S.A

The impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on New Orleans triggered the largest urban evacuation to occur on U.S. soil, displacing the 455,000 residents within the city and surrounding communities for an extended period of time. Nearly five years into the recovery process, the populations of the Gulf Coast states still suffer from a lack of access to housing, which has prevented many residents from returning to their homes and led to rights violations for those who did return.
Some of the labels applied to those displaced by the disaster were evcuees, refugees, and internally displaced persons (IDPs). Although the latter is a widely accepted term internationally, and was often the most fitting, it was not broadly used domestically. Further, the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, which outline the rights of IDPs, either conflict with or are not addressed in domestic policies in the U.S. Our research and the panel of experts will look at how these principles could apply to, and improve, disaster preparedness and recovery policies in the U.S. Click here for more details

Bicycles and the MBTA

Despite facing many challenges (among them perennial funding and maintenance problems, an aging infrastructure, and a wide range of vehicles), the MBTA has embraced intermodal connectivity and multimodal trips by adding extensive and innovative bicycle parking, outfitting its buses with bike racks, expanding bicycle access to MBTA vehicles, and partnering with the City of Boston to combine bike sharing and public transportation. Scheirer is the MBTA's point person for making Boston's transit system more bicycle friendly. Click here for more details

Urban Affairs & City Planning Alumni Panel and Roundtable Discussion

Friday, April 1, 2011
6:00pm – 8:00pm

Alumni Conference Room, 595 Commonwealth Avenue, West Entrance, 7th Floor Boston, Massachusetts

You are formally invited to the upcoming Alumni Panel & Roundtable Discussion event (see below).  Five alumni will speak about their experiences in the program and in their careers, followed by a Q&A session and a casual reception. All area alumni have been invited, as well as students interested in the program.  This will be a great opportunity for you to learn about career options, get advice on the job/internship application process, and network with local alumni.  There will also be refreshments!

Please RSVP to by March 29 if you plan to attend, but feel free to show up regardless.  Also, please contact us if you have any questions about the event.

Our Future Boston | An Event about Boston's Politics and Policies

Tuesday, April 5 from 7-8pm in the GSU Academy Room.

The Roosevelt Institute at BU and the BU Student Union are joining forces to
put on an event with policy experts, academics, and government officials on
major politics and politics that affect students in the Boston area.

Event Description: This is not a lecture. This is your time to be heard. Students in Boston have been silent - in elections, in debates, and in city council meetings. It's time to change that! You are one of more than 250,000 students living in the Boston area. We all come here seeking an exciting and enriching college experience. We spend four years in the city and some of us stay well beyond that. Our Future Boston will be an introduction to some of the issues areas that most directly affect student life in the city: transportation, housing, jobs, and social life. - We all wish the T would run smoother and the 57 would arrive on time. - We want affordable rents and landlords that do what they're supposed to do. - We hope to find jobs in the area after graduation, even if the economy is not so great. - And of course, we want to have fun. Each policy expert, handpicked from city government, business, and academia, will introduce the current state of public policy and future plans. But this is not a lecture. This is your time to be heard. Do you have questions about politics and policy in Boston or even just how you can find that job you've been looking for? The majority of the event will be comprised of student questions and opinion statements on Boston and these four issue areas. Come with your questions and leave with a greater understanding and a drive to make the most out of the city.  

Fall 2010 Events

The Edge: Urban and Regional Conversations at Boston University

The Edge Series Fall 2010: City Planning and Public Health Redux: Disaster Relief and Mitigation, Planning and Public Health Perspectives

Session One: A City Planner in International Public Health Click here for more details

Session Two: Integration of Public Health, Urban Planning and Transportation to Promote Physical Activity Click here for more details

Session Three: Disaster Relief and Mitigation, Planning and Public Health Perspectives Click here for more details

Applied Sustainability: From LEED to Living Systems Theory and Design

A lecture-workshop with Bill Reed, AIA, LEED, HonFIGP, Integrative Design Collaborative & Co-Founder of United States Green Building Council. Click here for more details

BU MCP/MUA working with Haiti

for details, click on the following links:

BU Today: "Students Help Produce Maps of Devastated Areas for Relief and Rebuilding"

BU Today: "Haiti Leaders, BU Team Share Long-Term Goals"

WBUR: "BU Team In Haiti Works To Transform As They Rebuild"

BU Today: "Ground Up, Rethinking Haiti"

Pardee Center: "Experts Discuss Future Challenges in Dealing with Disasters"

Boston Globe: "Fatal Magnetism of the City"