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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.


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.

Thank You, Mayor Menino

October 30th, 2017 in Front Page, News, News and Events

Eastie Library with Thank You signToday marks three years since the passing of our co-founder, Mayor Tom Menino. He believed in the power of mayors to improve lives and take bold steps toward protecting the environment. He believed in the importance of cities as welcoming places devoted to fairness, equity and justice. He believed in the power of youth to help shape the present and future. These values permeate so much of what we do.

Thank you, Mayor Menino.

“The 20 years I’ve been Mayor, I don’t think I did anything special. I did what you’re supposed to do – help people. Take positions on issues that you believe are right. Never sell your ideals for other people’s special interests. And I want to say, I’ve enjoyed every day of it.” – Thomas M. Menino, December 2013

Event Recap: Reflections On Public Service

October 27th, 2017 in Front Page, News, News and Events

Government – Trying to Keep My Faith, But Should I Look For More: Reflections On Public Service

Reflections on Public Service 1

From left: Daniel Lesser, Shari Davis, Andrew Vargas

Last Monday, four BU alumni joined Katharine Lusk, the Executive Director of the Initiative on Cities, to reflect on their lives in public service. Tyler Fields (CAS ‘16), Daniel Lesser (Questrom ‘17), Shari Davis (SAR ‘10, ‘12), and Andrew Vargas (CAS ‘15) discussed why they got started, how they stay motivated, and what young students should do to engage in politics.

The event is part of a speaker series on civic engagement being hosted this semester by the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground.

Read more about the event here.

IOC Menino Fellow to Work in National League of Cities in Washington, D.C.

October 23rd, 2017 in Front Page, News, News and Events

2017 – 2018 NLC Menino Fellow Augustine Jimenez

The Initiative on Cities (IOC) is pleased to announce Augustine Jimenez (Boston University Class of 2020) as our 2017 – 2018 National League of Cities (NLC) Menino Fellow. Augustine is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations. Through this Fellowship, Augustine will spend the fall semester paired with a faculty member in an on-campus Directed Study program. He will spend the 2018 spring semester in Boston University’s (BU) Washington DC study abroad program, where he will take classes and participate in a paid internship in the National League of Cities’ Institute for Youth, Education and Families.

Read more about Augustine and the NLC Fellowship here.

Event Recap: 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.