Boston: Think Tanks

Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC)

“We work toward sound municipal management, sustainable land use, protection of natural resources, efficient and affordable transportation, a diverse housing stock, public safety, economic development, an informed public, and equity and opportunity among people of all backgrounds.”  Community and regional data, Boston to just beyond interstate I-495.

Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI).

“…seeks to spur original urban research on the cutting edge of social science and public policy. In conducting and interpreting this research, BARI seeks to forge mutually beneficial relationships among the region’s scholars, policymakers, practitioners and civic leaders.”  Harvard Univesity.  BARI is supported by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, and the City of Boston.

Beacon Hill Institute

Suffolk University, “Grounded in the principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets, the Beacon Hill Institute engages in rigorous economic research and conducts educational programs for the purpose of producing and disseminating readable analyses of current public policy issues to voters, taxpayers, opinion leaders and policy makers.” Policy Studies.

Boston Foundation

“As Greater Boston’s community foundation, the Boston Foundation devotes its resources to building and sustaining a vital, prosperous city and region, where justice and opportunity are extended to everyone.”   The Foundation issues reports on schools, housing, jobs, arts, etc.; sponsors forums; and distributes funds. Recent reports include:
Culture is Our Common Wealth: An Action Agenda to Enhance Revenues and Resources for Massachusetts Cultural Organizations
The Role and Impact of Colleges and Universities in Greater Boston Today: A New Era of Higher Education-Community Partnerships
Staying Power: The Future of Manufacturing in Massachusetts
Click here for a complete list of reports to date.

Preventing a Brain Drain: Talent Retention in Greater Boston,

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and The Boston Foundation, October 2003. “survey of over 2,100 students from 10 area schools who graduated in 2003 with degrees ranging from the associate’s and bachelor’s levels to Ph.D.’s…and more than 1,300 alumni who graduated between 5 and 15 years ago…”

Boston-1915 Movement.

In 1910, a group of Boston businessmen strived to engage residents in planning the future of Boston.  They documented their ideas and progress in a monthly publication called “New Boston,” from 1910-1911.

Boston Indicators Project: Measuring What We Value

Boston Foundation in partnership with the City of Boston and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.   Some of their reports are listed here:

Latest Report   2012 : City of Ideas: Reinventing Boston’s Innovation Economy

Shows that standard top-level economic indicators don’t tell us everything we need to know about the state of jobs and equity in our local and regional economy. We need to reinvent Boston’s innovation economy through greater opportunity and shared prosperity.

2009: “A Great Reckoning: Healing a Growing Divide.”

Fifth biennial report. “our successful knowledge economy has lead to widening income inequality. As Baby Boomers retire, we must educate all children to high standards to sustain prosperity and rebalance social equity.”

2004-2006: “A Time Like No Other: Charting the Course of the Next Revolution.”

Fourth biennial report. “Greater Boston’s economy strengthened considerably but the region faces persistent challenges in high costs, labor shortages, and growing income inequality. It also emphasizes Boston’s innovative capacity and its potentially revolutionary role at a time of global economic and climatic change.”

2004: “Thinking Globally, Acting Locally: A Wake-up Call”

Click here for the complete list.

Boston Municipal Research Bureau

“uses expert research and independent analysis to ensure that the basics of city government—its tax policies, service delivery and schools—promote a strong business and residential climate.” Publications.

BPE (formerly Boston Plan for Excellence)

“BPE is guided by a volunteer board of trustees that represents Boston’s corporate, education, philanthropic, and civic communities.” As a part of our new strategic direction, BPE is creating break-the-mold new schools where all students are prepared for college and career. The first of these schools will open in September 2012.

Commonwealth Magazine

Published by MassINC. For articles about Boston, use search box. Registration required.

IDEAS Boston

Sponsored by MassINC. Annual meeting where “thought-leaders from business, medicine, science, technology, non-profit organizations, education, and the arts. Business executives and scientists, artists and students, young entrepreneurs and seasoned academics – all come together in this brainstorm of new ideas.”Thursday, October 4, 2007, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 600 Atlantic Avenu.

MetroBoston DataCommons

Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) and the Boston Indicators Project. Data mainly from U.S. Census. Includes neighborhood (community) snapshots; general population statistics: municipality, census tract, block group; a data mapping tool; and data by topics: Arts and Culture, Civic Vitality and Governance, Economy, Education, Environment and Recreation, Housing, MetroFuture Projections, Public Health, Public Safety, Technology, Transportation, Zoning and Land Use.


“With more than one-third of Boston’s population between the ages of 20-34, Boston… launched ONEin3 to connect Boston’s young adult population with resources related to: housing, professional development, financial health, entrepreneurship and civic engagement.”

Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research

“a non-partisan think tank advancing the core values of an open society—individual freedom and responsibility, prosperity, and limited, accountable government.”

Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston

Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, “strives to improve the governance of Greater Boston by strengthening connections between the region’s scholars, students, and civic leaders.” Research and Publications.

Select “Boston: Business” for more information on innovation.