MetroBridge Call for Projects

MetroBridge embeds real-world projects for municipalities and community organizations into courses at BU, enlisting our students and faculty as allies in addressing real issues confronting our region. We invite local governments and community-based organizations to submit their own original project ideas or select one based on our menu of project ideas below.

The MetroBridge program is university-wide, which means our government and community partners can leverage all of the academic expertise at Boston University, including: Climate readiness, communications and emerging media, community engagement, data science, foreign languages, historic preservation, housing, human services, land use and transportation, political science, public health, and sustainability. Local governments are encouraged to submit multiple project ideas through the RFP process.

Shortcuts

How to Submit a Project Idea

To submit a project idea for the 2021–2022 academic year, please fill out the brief MetroBridge Call for Projects Survey

A member of our team will contact you with any questions. We do our best to match each project idea with a course, but if we are unable to do so for the upcoming semester, your project idea will also be considered for future ones.

Submit a Project Idea

Project Timeline

The MetroBridge program operates on the academic semester cycle. Each semester is 14 weeks long.

The Fall Semester runs from September until December break. A student-led presentation is typically held in December, with final deliverables completed in January.

The Spring Semester runs from late January until early May. A student-led presentation is typically held in April or May, with final deliverables completed in June.

Requirements

Local governments and organizations serving as MetroBridge partners should be prepared to donate their time, in addition to sharing data and reports relevant to the project(s). This may include:

  • Planning and check-in meetings/calls with MetroBridge program team and faculty
  • Visiting the class on campus at the beginning of the semester to provide an overview of the project and the city/town
  • Hosting a student site visit (if desired) and coordinating meetings with key local government staff and community partners
  • Providing information such as existing reports, plans, or data related to the project and meeting minutes with pertinent agenda items.

The MetroBridge team assists with project scoping, arranges meetings between students and community partners, and ensures effective communication between BU and project liaisons. At the end of the semester, students present their work directly to partnering local governments and or community organizations, and the MetroBridge team oversees the development of final deliverables.

While we are eager to hear about any researchable problem you could use some assistance with, we are especially interested in projects in areas such as equity, sustainability (including walkability and transportation), civic engagement, and data.

Additional specific examples of ideas include:

COVID-19 Projects:

  • Explore issues of death and dying during the COVID-19 crisis and the unusual circumstances in which families and communities are forced to grieve
  • Conduct policy research/analysis on health care questions related to COVID-19
  • Create designs for community art projects that offer tribute to lives lost during COVID-19
  • Explore the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses (especially retail and restaurants) and options to support recovery.

Public Health Projects:

  • Develop a plan for a community-based health needs assessment
  • Design a community health intervention and corresponding communications strategy
  • Create plans for community-based interventions targeting diet, physical activity, and obesity

Human/Social Services Projects: 

  • Explore evidence-based best practices for mental health and addiction interventions or policies
  • Explore issues related to immigration, asylum court, and/or deportation
  • Public Safety/Criminal Justice Projects:
  • Surveys, interviews, and/or literature reviews on a criminal justice issue
  • Analysis of police data (e.g. service calls, arrests, incident reports) to explore trends
  • Support for improving police data dashboards

Environment/Environmental Justice Projects:

  • Analysis of extreme heat and urban heat islands
  • Measure air, water, or soil quality in a specific community to test for pollutants
  • Artistic interpretation of an environmental justice issue (e.g., public art mural)
  • Build a monitoring device to measure snow accumulation or test water quality
  • Research an environmental justice issue (e.g., climate, urban greening, access to open space)
  • Explore nudges around individual conservation/consumption behaviors

Communications & Community Engagement Projects:

  • Research on a community’s social media network (e.g., Twitter) to understand how to improve engagement
  • Create a mock-up of a new website design for a local government or community organization
  • Develop and implement a resident/stakeholder survey and analyze the results
  • Analyze participation patterns and engagement with local government
  • Explore ideas to encourage participation among underrepresented groups — potentially in foreign languages.

Policy Analysis or Best Practice Research Projects:

  • Policy analysis or best practices scans on various issues
  • Behavioral economics analysis of a policy issue or program (e.g., encouraging residents to recycle)

Local Economy Projects:

  • Explore approaches to improving the local tourism market
  • Research/consulting on a business or economic development issue

Education Projects:

  • Research on bilingual student populations or field work with bilingual students

Data Science Projects:

  • Build data visualizations or data dashboards using city/town data

Historic Preservation Projects:

  • Compiling a neighborhood’s history or mapping the historical features of a city

Contact Information

Questions? Please contact Paige Dolci, MetroBridge Program Manager.