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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.


IOC Co-Hosts UK-International Metro Mayors’ Summit in London

December 18th, 2017 in Front Page, News, News and Events, Uncategorized

UK SummitOn December 4th through 6th, the Boston University Initiative on Cities co-hosted the first ever UK-International Metro Mayors’ Summit with the Centre for Cities, a UK think tank, and Citi, the global founding partner. Five mayors from the United States and six metro mayors from the UK met in small round-table groups to share practical advice on how to best benefit their cities, from economic development to social mobility. Click here to read more about the event.

Boston’s Hidden Histories

December 13th, 2017 in Front Page, News, News and Events, Uncategorized, Urban Seminar Series

Boston Common SignOn November 14th, three experts across biology, archeology, and American studies converged at the Initiative on Cities to present on Boston’s hidden histories, whether physically hidden under the ground or figuratively hidden from documentation. From underground subways to undocumented artifacts, their work reveals the untold stories of Boston’s unique communities.

Click here to read more about the presentations.

NLC Menino Fellow Augustine Jimenez Attends the City Summit in Charlotte

December 6th, 2017 in Front Page, News, News and Events, Uncategorized

augustine photo

2017 – 2018 Menino Fellow Augustine Jimenez

Our 2017-2018 National League of Cities Menino Fellow, Augustine Jimenez, recently attended the NLC City Summit in Charlotte, North Carolina. More than 4,000 attendees participated in hands-on workshops, learned from seminars by city leaders, and networked with other delegates in local government. Hear from Augustine about his experience here.

Guest Lecture: Richard Florida and the New Urban Crisis

December 5th, 2017 in Front Page, News, News and Events, Speaker Series, Uncategorized


On November 9th, urban studies professor and theorist Richard Florida visited Boston University to lecture on his recent book, The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class-and What We Can Do About It. He explained how his personal experiences and travels gave direction to his research on geographic inequalities. 

Click here to learn more about his talk.

In the News: Professor Rotjan’s Urban Coral Project

November 28th, 2017 in Front Page, News, News and Events, Research Awards, Uncategorized

Photo from Rotjan Lab

Photo from Rotjan Lab

Congratulations to Professor Randi Rotjan for receiving media coverage by WPRI 12 and ecoRI News on her urban coral project.

Rotjan was received an IOC Urban Research Award  in 2017 to support her project, which analyzes the impact of microplastics and microbial films on urban coral.

Concerned about the 4.8 to 12.7 million metric tons of plastic that enter the ocean every year, Rotjan decided to look into how organismal ingestion of microplastics affects sewage treatment. Rojan collaborated with Associate Professor Juanita Urban-Rich from the University of Massachusetts-Boston, Assistant Professor Koty Sharp from Rogers Williams University and Associate Professor Sean Grace from Southern Connecticut State University to answer whether there is a greater prevalence of these plastics in urban areas.

Read more about her project here.

Executive Director Katharine Lusk Co-Authors Paper On Youth-led Participatory Budgeting

November 22nd, 2017 in Affiliated Faculty list, Front Page, News, Research Awards, Uncategorized

Journal of Youth Studies

Katharine Lusk, Executive Director of the Initiative on Cities, co-authored a paper published last week by the Journal of Youth Studies. Lusk collaborated with Associate Dean Mary Elizabeth Collins, Professor Astraea Augsberger, and PhD Candidate Whitney Gecker, all from the Boston University School of Social Work, to explore youth-led participatory budgeting. The team worked with the staff and youth on the Boston Mayor’s Youth Council to look deeper into how community-decision making can include youth perspectives. Collins noted that the program has many strengths, such as the increase in youth political involvement, but there’s still work to be done.

“What are the best ways to engage diverse segments of the youth population?” asked Collins. “Therefore, we would encourage additional efforts to implement youth-based participatory budgeting in cities, but also the necessity of evaluating these efforts to continue to improve them.”

View the paper here.

Introducing the New IOC Associate Director, Stacy Fox

November 20th, 2017 in Front Page, News, News and Events, Uncategorized

Associate Director Stacy Fox

We’re so excited to introduce Stacy Fox as our new Associate Director. Hear from this double Terrier about her passion for affordable housing in a Q&A here.

Virtual Reality & Urban Ecology Teleport to Experience Urban Infrastructure on Dorchester Ave, Boston

November 15th, 2017 in Front Page, News, News and Events, Research Awards, Uncategorized

VR 1On October 25th, PhD candidates Yaxiong Ma and Jessica Wright demonstrated their virtual reality project on urban underground infrastructure. With the guidance of BU Earth & Environment professors Sucharita Gopal and Nathan Phillips, the two explored how to create a greener and more coordinated infrastructure system. 

Click here to learn more about their project.

Tune in Live for Richard Florida, 11/9 at 4:30pm

November 9th, 2017 in Front Page, News, News and Events, Speaker Series

Can’t attend in person? Join us live for Richard Florida and The New Urban Crisis today at 4:30pm.

Florida will lecture on his most recent book, The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class-and What We Can Do About It.

Best known for his concept of the creative class, Richard Florida’s latest book examines the adverse consequences of contemporary urban migration as cities grapple with growing inequality, housing affordability and gentrification. He offers prescriptions to cities keen to respond to these shifts and nurture or maintain more inclusive communities.

Professor Perspectives: Gentrification in Boston: Are You a Gentrifier?

November 7th, 2017 in Front Page, News, News and Events

GentrifiersOn October 25th, Sociology Professor Japonica Brown-Saracino and PhD candidates Taylor Cain and Sarah Hosman discussed gentrification in Boston through a historical lens and through specific case studies in Allston, Jamaica Plain, and Roxbury.

View more about the panel here.