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We seek to promote and advance the adaptive urban leadership strategies necessary to support cities as dynamic centers of economic growth and development in the 21st century.

Founded by a proven urban leader, the late former Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, and a highly regarded academic, Professor Graham Wilson, the Initiative on Cities serves as a bridge between world-class academic research and the real-life practice of city governance.


Cities in the Federal System: Building Bipartisan Relationships in a Hyper Partisan Era

October 17th, 2017 in Front Page, News, News and Events

Bipartisan_Poster 100117_ltrJerry Abramson, Michael Nutter, and Katie King (CAS’06, SPH’13) visited the IOC on Thursday, October 5th, to explore intergovernmental relation in a partisan era. The panel discussed how cities, states, and the federal government collaborate across issues and party lines. 

Learn more about their discussion here.

Event Recap: Transportation Vision to Transformative Reality

October 10th, 2017 in Front Page, News, News and Events, Speaker Series, Uncategorized

Lily Song

Lily Song

Terry Regan

Terrance Regan

On September 27, the Initiative on Cities hosted a discussion examining how urban transportation can shift towards an equitable, sustainable future. Terrence Regan, from the Boston University Metropolitan College and the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, covered how regional governments are cooperating with private businesses to make large-scale projects more feasible. Lily Song, from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, shared her research examining how local political leaders in U.S. and abroad  directly impact the implementation and success of transportation policies.

Learn more about their presentations here.

Tune in Today: Cities in the Federal System

October 5th, 2017 in Front Page, News and Events

Can’t join us in person?

Tune in below to watch Cities in the Federal System: Building Bipartisan Relationships in a Hyper Partisan Era.


Jerry AbramsonMichael Nutter, and Katie King (CAS’06, SPH’13) discuss how mayors and officials at the state and federal levels can work together to identify and achieve common goals.

Event Recap: Sustainable Development in Ghana

October 2nd, 2017 in Front Page, News, News and Events

His Excellency Dr. Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah

His Excellency Dr. Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah

On September 29, His Excellency Dr. Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, Ambassador of the Republic of Ghana to the United States, came to the Initiative on Cities to speak about sustainable development in two of Ghana’s largest cities, Accra and Kumasi. Adjei-Barwuah noted the difficulty of developing an urban area without suburban expansion and emphasized the necessity of the private market for a renewable, sustainable city.

Learn more about his presentation here.

The Difference a Mayor Makes: My Summer in Manchester, England

September 21st, 2017 in Front Page, News, News and Events

Maya Terhune

IOC City of Manchester Summer Fellow Maya Terhune

From the inception of its textiles industry, Manchester has been an engine of industry-led innovation, defining the city as a center of economic and institutional development. Manchester’s origin as a pioneer of development influenced its decision to devolve from national government.

With its first mayor and newly-formed Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), the new Manchester city-region plans to use devolution to address some of the region’s profound problems with education, housing, and transportation.

I was involved in the development of this evidence base in my work with the GMCA this summer. My contributions to the skills and employment team were part of a larger effort to understand how GMCA could best implement change within the school system and what powers it would need to devolve in order to do this.

Learn more about Maya’s time in Manchester here.

IOC Fellow Yi Ding Reflects on Summer with City of Providence

September 17th, 2017 in Front Page, News, News and Events

My Summer in the Providence Department of Innovation: Using Data to Streamline City Services


IOC City of Providence Summer Fellow Yi Ding

This summer I worked as the Boston University Initiative on Cities Fellow for the City of Providence’s Department of Innovation. The Department of Innovation works with internal and external stakeholders to streamline the delivery of city services, promote public entrepreneurship, and enhance citizen engagement, to ensure Providence is a “City that Works” for its residents and customers.

I completed several interesting projects, including city data visualization analysis for the Providence Department of Inspection.

Click here to read more about Yi’s summer in Providence.

IOC Fellow Taylor Cain Reflects on Summer with City of Boston

September 14th, 2017 in Front Page, News, News and Events

Equitable Decision Making for Boston’s Streets: My Summer as a MONUM Fellow


IOC Fellow Taylor Cain

When I applied for the summer fellowship with the Boston Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics I knew that I would be asked to do in addition to think.  While daunting, this shift in orientation was also exciting and I braced myself for a summer where I might bridge my world of scholarly contemplation with my desire to directly impact the city I had come to call home. However, nothing could prepare me for the wave of anxiety I was hit with when I heard my project for the summer: creating an equity framework with the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) for Vision Zero Boston. With the unveiling of my project came a sudden realization of the immense responsibility of my task, I immediately felt overwhelmed.

Click here to learn more about Taylor’s summer at MONUM.

Lessons from IOC and HTC Resilience and Racial Equity Summer Intern

September 12th, 2017 in Front Page, News, News and Events

headshot-Lara A

IOC Summer Intern Lara Adekeye

Working Towards a More Resilient Boston: My Summer as an IOC ‘MORRE’ Fellow

As the Boston University Initiative on Cities and Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground Summer 2017 Fellow in the Boston Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Racial Equity (MORRE), I worked with a team that pioneers Boston’s efforts to respond to and deal with catastrophes that may affect the City of Boston. When challenges arise in the city whether economic, environmental, or physical, racial inequity is a persistent factor that intersects all of these issues. The MORRE office recognizes that ensuring racial equity has to be a priority in efficiently addressing shocks and stresses for all Bostonians. Although I participated in various tasks throughout the summer, my main task was aiding the Resilience team with the completion of Boston’s first Resilience Strategy. Called ‘Resilient Boston,’ the Resilience Strategy includes the input of over 11,000 Bostonians.

Click here to read more about Lara’s summer.

Menino Survey Authors Publish Article in Publius

September 7th, 2017 in Affiliated Faculty list, Front Page, News


Assistant Professor Katherine Levine Einstein

D Glick Headshot

Assistant Professor David Glick

Lead authors of the Menino Survey of Mayors and Assistant Professors of Political Science Katherine Levine Einstein and David Glick‘s article, Cities in American Federalism: Evidence on State–Local Government Conflict from a Survey of Mayors, was published in the acclaimed Publius: The Journal of Federalism. Their article, using data from the Menino Survey of Mayors research project, explores variations in local government attitudes towards their state government. Click here to access the article.

2017 Urban Research Awards: CO2 and Green Roofs

August 17th, 2017 in Front Page, News, Research Awards

CO2 Fertilization in an Urban Green Roof

Earth & Environment Ph.D. candidate Sarabeth Buckley will conduct a study on the impact of increased levels of CO2 on green roofs in urban areas. Specifically, Sarabeth will purposefully expose the plants on edible green roofs to increased CO2 by directing waste carbon dioxide (produced by human respiration) from the inside of buildings to the outside.

Buckley will conduct her experiments on the roof of the College of Arts & Sciences on the Boston University Charles River Campus. She will collect CO2 data from classroom CO2 monitors and use that data to determine how much carbon dioxide her green roof plants will be exposed to with the goal of determining if increased CO2 spurs positive growth on edible plants.

Research on climate change and in particular the dependence of urban communities on external sources of good inspired Buckley to find out a way in which cities can be designed to both be more sustainable and self-sufficient while addressing causes of climate change. In addition, Sarabeth hopes to work with the BU community to establish this study as part of a network of “living labs” across the University.