IOC Funded Projects

How Is The Initiative on Cities Making a Difference in Urban Scholarship?

The IOC invests in early stage research projects to advance the study of dynamic urban leadership. Our Co-Founder Mayor Thomas Menino often said, “We live in the era of the city.” With over half the world’s population living in urban areas, it is critical that scholars and practitioners alike understand the challenges facing the 21st-century city and the paths towards prosperity and efficacy. Our Urban Research Agenda establishes the foundation for our funded research. If you are a member of the BU community and interested in submitting a proposal, we encourage you to review our annual requests for proposals, which typically open in December or January.

Since 2015, the Initiative on Cities has funded 90 projects:

Click on a category below to see funded projects:

    If a project is related to multiple categories, the additional categories will be listed below the description. To find all projects related to a category, search with the “Control+F” (“Command+F” on Mac) function.

    Economy

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    Reentry, Employment and Persisting Inequality: Understanding the experiences of formerly incarcerated jobseekers with employment reentry programs

    PI: Audrey Holm, PhD candidate, Management & Organizations, Questrom School of Business
    Co-PI: Michel Anteby, Professor, Management & Organizations, Questrom School of Business

    Year Funding Awarded: 2021

    Holm will examine how formerly incarcerated jobseekers in the United States perceive the reentry services that are meant to support them with employment, how these perceptions relate to their perceptions of the labor market more broadly, and how formerly incarcerated jobseekers’ perceptions and experiences vary across racial groups. This study will extend existing scholarship on reentry and labor market inequality and provide insights to urban leaders, policymakers and practitioners concerned with social justice and labor market opportunity.

    Also related to: Policing/Incarceration/Crime

    Building Community and Health Equity through Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Financial Services

    PI: Lucy Marcil, MD MPH; Assistant Professor, School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics
    Co-PI: Yoonsook Ha, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work

    Year Funding Awarded: 2019

    Professors Lucy Marcil and Yoonsook Ha will implement and evaluate a service intervention to promote health and health equity by increasing financial stability in the highest poverty neighborhoods in Boston. They will partner with the Epiphany School to provide free tax preparation and financial capabilities services and examine the impact of such services on receipt of the EITC, family financial stability, and health.

    Also related to: Health

    Agglomeration Economies in the Information Age

    PI: Andrew Busey, PhD Candidate, Department of Economics, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2017

    PhD candidate Andrew Busey will study the impact of population density on labor productivity in the United States, using census evidence over the past sixty years. Using a novel instrumental variable, Busey hopes to identify a causal estimate of the effects of agglomeration on productivity.

    Refugee Resettlement as an Urban Development Tool in Deindustrialized Cities: A Study of Pittsburgh, PA

    PI: Jake Watson, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences
    Co-PI: Julian Go, Professor, Department of Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2016

    Sociology PhD candidate Jake Watson, under the advisement of Sociology Professor Julian Go, will examine the socioeconomic impact of refugee resettlement on local community and micro-economies through an in-depth case study of the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He seeks to identify evidence-based best practices for the use of refugee settlement as a development tool in deindustrialized cities.

    Also related to: Placemaking and Placekeeping

    The Dynamic Advantages of Economic Diversity in Cities: Evidence from US History

    PI: Martin Fiszbein, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2016

    Department of Economics Assistant Professor Martin Fiszbein will examine eighty years of data on U.S cities to explore the correlation between urban economic diversity (the degree of variety in production activities) and medium and long-term economic performance. Fiszbein will establish conclusive evidence on the impact of economic diversity on growth and development, shed light on the mechanisms through which diversity affects overall development, and discover why it may have larger effects on skill-intensive and knowledge-intensive activities.

    Energy

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    Enhancing Energy Efficiency for Urban Housing: Madison Park Energy Efficiency Project, Phase II

    PI: Robert Kaufmann, Professor, Department of Earth & Environment, College of Arts & Sciences
    Co-PIs: Nalin Kulatilaka, Professor, Finance Department, Questrom School of Business; Michael Gevelber, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering Department, School of Engineering

    Year Funding Awarded: 2015

    In Phase II of an ongoing collaboration with Wells Fargo to reduce energy costs and energy use in urban housing, Professors Robert Kaufmann, Nalin Kulatilaka, and Associate Professor Michael Gevelber seek to build on their preliminary research results. Phase II will develop further tools and models to analyze efficient-technology investment and identify the most effective strategies to stimulate positive behavior changes related to energy usage.

    Integrated Process for Landfill and Leachate Management: Experimentally Informed Design of Waste-to-Energy Conversion for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Management

    PI: Jillian Goldfarb, Research Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering Department, School of Engineering

    Year Funding Awarded: 2015

    With her project, Research Assistant Professor Goldfarb searches for a scheme to reduce the energy required to manage municipal solid waste (MSW) and leachate landfills and develop new ways and materials to reduce waste and slow the spread of contaminants. The goal is to identify an environmentally compliant, cost-effective long-term strategy for solid waste management.

    Also related to: Environment/Climate Change/Green Space

    Environment/Climate Change/Green Space

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    The Impact of Racism on Urban Belowground Biodiversity

    PI: Kathryn Atherton, PhD Student, Bioinformatics; BU URBAN Program
    Co-PI: Jennifer M. Bhatnagar, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2021

    Soil microbial diversity is a crucial ecosystem service provided by urban green spaces, providing nutrients to urban plants, sequestering carbon in soil, and suppressing pathogens. Racist policies implemented in city planning, like forced residential segregation through redlining, have led to more fragmentation, impervious surface area, and industry in today’s neighborhoods with higher racial and ethnic minorities, all of which increase disturbance and lower soil quality, with potential detrimental effects on soil microbiome diversity. Atherton and Bhatnagar aim to address this issue by investigating how historical racial disparities in urban space development interact with environmental factors to explain variation in soil microbiome diversity and composition across Boston green spaces.

    Also related to: Race/Ethnicity/Gender

    Where do urban trees get their water?

    PI: Ian Smith, PhD student, Department of Earth and Environment, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences; BU URBAN Program
    Co-PIs: Lucy Hutyra, Professor, Department of Earth and Environment, College of Arts & Sciences; Pamela Templer, Professor, Department of Biology, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2021

    Smith, Hutyra, and Templer aim to determine where trees in Boston are sourcing their water by quantifying the relative contributions of precipitation, irrigation, groundwater, and wastewater sources to water found in tree tissue over the course of the growing season.

    Stress in the City: Examining metabolic consequences of toxicological exposures in resilient urban corals under global change stressors

    PI: Caroline Fleming, PhD student, Department of Biology, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences; BU URBAN Program
    Co-PIs: Randi Rotjan, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, College of Arts & Sciences; Wendy J. Heiger-Bernays, Clinical Professor, Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health

    Year Funding Awarded: 2021

    Marine organisms located offshore from urban centers face potentially negative interactive effects from pollutants (heavy metals, microplastics, pharmaceuticals, increased nutrients) and global change stressors (increasing sea temperature). Caroline Fleming & collaborators will implement an experimental framework to investigate the effects of microplastics (pollutant vector) and caffeine (urban indicator) in ambient and elevated temperatures on the metabolic activity of the urban coral Astrangia poculata in three life stages: adults, larvae, and eggs. Overall, we aim to establish dose-response relationships for each stressor (caffeine, microplastics, and temperature) and their interactions at each life stage, providing insight into the sensitivity threshold of this resilient urban marine organism.

    Urban Heat Exposure, Cooling Demand and Electricity Consumption under Future Climate Change: an Empirical Approach

    PI: Yasmin Romitti, PhD student, Department of Earth & Environment, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and BU URBAN Program
    Co-PIs: Ian Sue Wing, PhD, MSc, Professor, Department of Earth & Environment, College of Arts & Sciences; and Dan Li, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Earth & Environment, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2020

    Romitti, Sue Wing, and Li will empirically project the decreases in electricity demand for heating and increases in electricity demand for cooling in urban areas as a consequence of mid-century climate change.

    Also related to: Energy

    The Impact of Tourism on Environmental Sound Levels in Urban and Park Environments

    PI: Erica Walker, MSc, ScD; Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health
    Co-PI: Richard Primack, PhD, Professor, Department of Biology, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2019

    Postdoctoral Researcher Erica Walker and Professor Richard Primack will study the impacts of tourism on a city’s environmental soundscape to better understand how the effects of tourism affect urban areas compared to highly-visited park areas.

    Justice in Urban Climate Mitigation

    PI: Anne Short, Associate Professor, Department of Earth & Environment, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2018

    Associate Professor Anne Short seeks to examine climate action plans in 24 cities across the United States to determine if and how they integrate environmental justice into their goals. Her hope is to add empirical evidence— of which little currently exists— examining justice in the context of urban climate actions in order to inform the creation of more just climate actions in American cities.

    Observing and Modeling Urban Boundary Layers Under Heat Waves

    PI: Dan Li, Assistant Professor, Department of Earth & Environment, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2018

    Heat waves are amongst the deadliest natural disasters; urban residents are more vulnerable to heat waves due to the urban heat island effect, wherein cities are usually hotter than surrounding rural areas. Assistant Professor Dan Li will create a modeling tool in order to quantify the city scale effects of heat mitigation efforts in order to directly inform the design of municipal policies centered around heat solutions.

    Water Use Efficiency in Urban Street Trees

    PI: Sarah Garvey, PhD Candidate, Department of Earth & Environment, College of Arts & Sciences
    Co-PI: Lucy Hutyra, Associate Professor, Department of Earth & Environment, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2018

    PhD candidate Sarah Garvey, under the advisement of Associate Professor Lucy Hutyra, will examine water use efficiency among urban street trees in order to determine their climate sensitivity in relation to non-urban trees. Her lab’s recent research suggests that Boston’s street tree growth rates are four times higher than non-urban trees, but that those same trees have mortality rates at two times the rate of non-urban trees.

    CO2 Fertilization in an Urban Green Roof

    PI: Sarabeth Buckley, PhD Candidate, Department of Earth & Environment, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2017

    This project takes a novel approach to urban agriculture, evaluating the efficacy of using waste carbon dioxide (CO2) from inside a building, generated from human respiration, can enhance growth in edible green roofs. PhD candidate Sarabeth Buckley will use BU as a living lab by placing her sensors and edible green roof system on top of the green roof on the College of Arts & Sciences building on the Charles River campus.

    Hidden Problems in Secret Corals: Exploring Microplastic Abundance in Local, Temperate Corals Along an Urban Gradient

    PI: Randi Rotjan, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, College of Arts & Sciences
    Co-PIs: Associate Professor Juanita Urban-Rich; University of Massachusetts-Boston, Assistant Professor Koty Sharp, Roger Williams University; and Associate Professor Sean Grace, Southern Connecticut State University

    Year Funding Awarded: 2017

    Research Assistant Professor Randi Rotjan, in collaboration 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, will use the Boston Harbor and New England coast to determine the extent and impact of microplastics (beads and fibers) and microbial biofilms on coastal coral.

    Protecting Our Urban Water Sources: Developing a Solar Energy-Activated Nitrate Reduction Catalyst

    PI: Linda H. Doerrer, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Arts & Sciences
    Co-PI: Jessica K. Elinburg, PhD Candidate, Department of Chemistry, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2017

    Professor Linda H. Doerrer with PhD candidate Jessica K. Elinburg seeks to adapt her invention, an NO3– reduction system, for implementation in urban water sources to prevent harmful algal blooms and to make available clean water sources for urban residents in an affordable, environmentally-friendly way. Doerrer and Elinburg will conduct this research on the Charles River and along the greater Charles River watershed.

    Also related to: Energy

    Albedo and Its Impact on the Urban Heat Island Effect: Characterizing the Urban Surface and Its Heat Mitigation Potential Across a Transact of Cities

    PI: Andrew Trlica, PhD Candidate, Department of Earth & Environment, College of Arts & Sciences
    Co-PI: Lucy Hutyra, Associate Professor and Founder of the Hutyra Research Lab, Department of Earth & Environment, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2016

    Earth & Environment PhD candidate Andrew Trlica, under the advisement of Associate Professor and Founder of the Hutyra Research Lab Lucy Hutyra, seeks to study urban heat islands (UHI), identifying the linkages between urban land cover and surface temperature. Specifically, he will focus on the effect of albedo—the percent of total sunlight reflected rather than absorbed from a surface—in nine heat-impacted cities across the U.S., including Boston.

    Developing a Citywide Greenhouse Gas Inventory in Providence, RI

    PI: Conor Gately, Post-doctoral researcher; and Lucy Hutyra, Associate Professor, Department of Earth & Environment, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2016

    Post-doctoral researcher Conor Gately and Associate Professor Lucy Hutyra are working with the City of Providence to assist in the creation of a citywide greenhouse gas inventory that meets the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions. In April 2016, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza committed to the Compact of Mayors, pledging to track and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change. The Compact, created with the support of the C40 Cities, creates a common platform that standardizes emissions measurement and climate risk and requires public reporting of municipal efforts to combat climate change.

    Characterizing Urban Areas in the 21st Century: A Data Driven Approach

    PI: Sucharita Gopal, Research Professor at Center for Cognitive and Neural Systems and Center for Remote Sensing
    Co-PI: Nathan Phillips, Professor, Department of Earth & Environment, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2015

    Professors Sucharita Gopal and Nathan Phillips will develop a typology of urban metrics related to sustainability, resiliency and metabolism, with a specific focus on the creation and comparison of urban typologies for the cities of Boston, New York City and Melbourne, Australia.

    Establishment of A New Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition Monitoring Network in the City of Boston

    PI: Lucy Hutyra, Associate Professor, Department of Earth & Environment, College of Arts & Sciences
    Co-PI: Pamela Templer, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2015

    Associate Professors Pamela Templer and Lucy Hutyra seek to collect data on the nitrogen deposition levels both within and surrounding city limits by creating the first National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP) monitoring system in a city in order to establish a mechanistic understanding of sources and transformation of emissions and deposition of nitrogen within the City of Boston to enable predictions of future atmospheric nitrogen deposition rates.

    What Lies Beneath: How the History of Boston Impacts its Water Quality Today

    PI: Robinson Fulweiler, Associate Professor, Department of Earth & Environment, College of Arts & Sciences
    Co-PI: Timothy Maguire, PhD Candidate, Department of Earth & Environment, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2015

    Associate Professor Robinson Fulweiler and Biology PhD candidate Timothy Maguire will conduct a study on urban groundwater and runoff in Boston, in order to investigate causes, effects, and the extent of nutrient non-point pollution in urbanized subterranean estuaries. Eight groundwater wells will be selected throughout Boston and monitored bimonthly for one year to determine underlying nutrient concentrations and patterns.

    Health

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    Assessing City Health Care Workers’ SARS-CoV2 Transmission to Families

    PI: Diana Ceballos, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Health, BU School of Public Health (SPH) 
    Co-PIs: Jessica Leibler, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Health, SPH; and Jennifer Greif Green, Associate Professor, Special Education Program, BU Wheelock College of Education & Human Development

    Year Funding Awarded: 2020

    Cebballos, Leibler, and Green seek to understand whether healthcare workers are inadvertently exposing their families and household members to COVID-19, and if so, how they are exposing them. Surveying healthcare workers at Boston Medical Center, the study will explore differences between higher-income healthcare workers and lower-income workers, such as custodial staff, food service workers, and other hospital support staff. It will also pilot an interactive online training on effective mitigation measures.

    Also related to: Economy

    Assessing the association between combined sewer overflow events and gastrointestinal illness in the Merrimack Valley

    PI: Beth Haley, MA, PhD Student, Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health and BU URBAN Program
    Co-PIs: Wendy Heiger-Bernays, PhD, Clinical Professor of Environmental Health, School of Public Health; and Jacqueline Ashmore, PhD, Executive Director of the Boston University Institute for Sustainable Energy and Research Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
    Collaborator: Jyotsna S. Jagai, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, The University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health

    Year Funding Awarded: 2020

    Haley, Heiger-Bernays, Ashmore, and Jagai will investigate the relationship between combined sewer overflow (CSO) events and gastrointestinal (GI) illness in communities in the lower Merrimack River Valley of Massachusetts. This research builds on previous work by Jagai that found a significant relationship between extreme rainfall (a proxy for CSO events) and GI illness in this region.

    Also related to: Environment/Climate Change/Green Space

    Effects of Greenspace Structure on Urban Tree Health and Human Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter: A Biogeochemical Analysis and Exposure Assessment

    PI: Jenna Rindy, MS, PhD Student, Department of Biology, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and BU URBAN Program
    Co-PIs: Pamela Templer, PhD, Professor, Department of Biology, College of Arts & Sciences and Director of BU URBAN Program; Kevin Lane, PhD, MA, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health; and Lucy Hutyra, PhD, MA, Associate Professor, Department of Earth & Environment, College of Arts & Sciences and Associate Director of BU URBAN Program

    Year Funding Awarded: 2020

    Rindy, Templer, Lane, and Hutyra will examine the relationship between greenspace structure (urban and rural forests vs. open fields) and the ability of vegetation to reduce concentrations of the air pollutant fine particulate matter. The team will also determine the sources of the particles and whether housing proximity to varying greenspace structures affects human exposure to fine particulate matter.

    Also related to: Environment/Climate Change/Green Space

    From the Pediatric Frontlines: Basic Needs, Access to COVID19 Supports & Equity Among Families with Young Children in the Boston Area

    PI: Megan Sandel, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, BU School of Medicine (BUSM), and  Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Health, BU School of Public Health (SPH)
    Co-PI: Deborah A. Frank, MD, Professor in Child Health and Well-Being, Department of Pediatrics, BUSM, and Assistant Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences, SPH

    Year Funding Awarded: 2020

    Sandel and Frank, in collaboration with Children’s HealthWatch, will study the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on families of young children that seek pediatric care at Boston Medical Center, with a focus on immigrant families and families of color. It will examine if housing insecurity, food insecurity, economic hardships, and poor child and parent health have increased since the COVID-19 crisis.

    Also related to: Economy & Race/Ethnicity/Gender

    The “Aging Disaster” of COVID19: The Association of Social Isolation and Loneliness to Perceived Health, Psychological Wellbeing, and Material Hardship Among Boston Residents Age 60 and Older

    PI: Judith G. Gonyea, Professor, BU School of Social Work (BUSSW) 
    Co-PI: Arden O’ Donnell, PhD Student, BUSSW

    Year Funding Awarded: 2020

    Gonyea and O’Donnell, in collaboration with the City of Boston’s Age Strong Commission, seek to understand the experiences of Boston residents age 60 and older during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will examine how stay at home directives have impacted elderly residents’ sense of isolation, loneliness, perceived health, psychological wellbeing, and material hardship, as well strategies to maintain social connections.

    Community Engagement to Explore Heat Exposure for Urban-Dwelling Older Adults in Boston

    PI: Leila Heidari, PhD Candidate, Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health
    Co-PI: Patrick L. Kinney, ScD; Professor, Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health

    Year Funding Awarded: 2019

    PhD candidate Leila Heidari and Professor Patrick Kinney seek to understand the heat exposure-related needs and experiences of older adults living in Boston, MA and will use a participatory action method, Photovoice, in combination with exposure and biometric measurements, to document and communicate participant exposures, experiences, and needs around heat events.

    Also related to: Environment/Climate Change/Green Space

    Impact of Air Pollution and Climate on Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes

    PI: Lindsey Butler, PhD Candidate, School of Public Health (SPH)
    Co-PIs: Patricia Janulewicz, DS.c, MPH, Assistant Professor, SPH; Patrick Kinney, Professor, SPH; Ann Aschengrau, Sc.D, Professor, SPH; and Mahsa Yazdy, Director of the Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, SPH

    Year Funding Awarded: 2017

    This project will investigate the impacts of maternal exposure to traffic related air pollution (TRAP) and extreme ambient temperatures on the risk of structural birth defects and stillbirths resulting from placental dysfunction. The authors will also assess the interaction of these two factors, analyzing the effects of living near a roadway and experiencing an extreme temperature event while pregnant. Butler will analyze data from 210 U.S. cities.

    Also related to: Environment/Climate Change/Green Space

    Assessment of Urban Indoor Air Quality, Environmental Conditions and Occupancy Using a New Low-Cost Wireless Sensor

    PI: Patricia Fabian, Research Assistant Professor, Boston University School of Public Health
    Co-PIs: Thomas Little, Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Boston University School of Engineering; Gary Adamkiewicz, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

    Year Funding Awarded: 2016

    Research Assistant Professor Patricia Fabian, Professor Thomas Little, and Harvard Assistant Professor Gary Adamkiewicz seek to build and test a compact low-cost indoor air quality and occupancy sensing device (Urban Indoor Air Monitor, or iAM) in an ongoing housing field study in Chelsea, Massachusetts. The data collected from this experiment will help inform current and future research, interventions and design intended to reduce health disparities related to indoor environmental air quality.

    Also related to: Environment/Climate Change/Green Space

    Modelling the Effect of Energy-Efficient Housing Interventions on Indoor Environmental Health in Urban Multi-Family Populations

    PI: Lindsay Underhill, PhD Candidate, Department of Environmental Public Health, School of Public Health
    Co-PIs: Jonathan Levy, Professor, Department of Environmental Public Health, School of Public Health

    Year Funding Awarded: 2016

    Environmental Public Health PhD candidate Lindsay Underhill, under the direction of School of Public Health Associate Chair and Professor Jonathan Levy, will develop flexible building simulation prototypes that model the urban multi-family housing stock in Massachusetts. These simulation models will be used to examine seasonal indoor pollutant concentrations and identify energy-efficient and health protective housing interventions that reduce harmful environmental exposure among urban, multi-family dwellers.

    Also related to: Energy, Environment/Climate Change/Green Space, & Housing

    Breast is Best: Increasing Breastfeeding Resources at Boston Medical Center Pediatric Ambulatory Care Clinic to Improve Urban Health Equity

    PI: Dr. Rachael Bonawitz, Boston Medical Center
    Co-PI: Dr. Stephanie Klees, Boston Medical Center

    Year Funding Awarded: 2015

    Drs. Rachael Bonawitz and Stephanie Klees seek to evaluate the need for and impacts of interventions related to breastfeeding and lactation support among low income urban populations following hospital discharge. Their research will evaluate breastfeeding rates prior to 2012, when certified lactation counselors were present in BMC Pediatric Ambulatory Care Clinic, and from 2012 to June 2015, the three years without lactation support services.

    Developing a Best-Practices Rodent Management Framework for United States Cities

    PI: Jessica Leibler, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health
    Co-PI: Wendy Heiger-Bernays, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health

    Year Funding Awarded: 2015

    Led by Assistant Professor Jessica Leibler and Associate Professor Wendy Heiger-Bernays of the School of Public Health, with collaboration from Dr. Gadhoke (St. Johns University), Dr. Chelsea Himsworth (veterinary pathologist), and Dr. Jessie Gaeta (Boston Healthcare for the Homeless), this project seeks to coordinate and review urban policies on rodent and pest management in large U.S. cities, devise a transmission model for rodent-borne infections in urban areas, and develop “gold standard” evidence-based policies for rodent and pest control in large urban areas.

    Growing Old in Urban Subsidized Housing: The Relationship Between Perceived Neighborhood Environment and Residents’ Mental Health

    PI: Judith Gonyea, Professor, School of Social Work
    Co-PI: Yeonjung Lee, PhD Candidate, Department of Social Research, School of Social Work

    Year Funding Awarded: 2015

    Led by Professor Judith Gonyea, along with PhD candidate Yeonjung Lee, this project seeks to investigate the relationship between older, low-income community residents’ subjective perceptions of their “neighborhood quality” and their emotional well being, as well as identify racial/ethnic and gender differences in the prevalence of older adults living in subsidized housing and correlates of depression.

    Also related to: Housing, Placemaking and Placekeeping & Race/Ethnicity/Gender

    Project SUDS: Serving Up Dignity with Showers

    PI: Kaitlyn Moran, Debbie Perez and Rebecca Walmer
    Co-PI: Jessica Leibler, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health

    Year Funding Awarded: 2015

    Kaitlyn Moran, Debbie Perez, and Rebecca Walmer under the direction of Assistant Professor Jessica Leibler will evaluate the health impacts of poor or irregular personal hygine among the Boston homeless, the quality and accessibility of sanitation facilities available to them, and the sanitation needs and preferences of the homeless population–particularly as they relate to shower facilities. Their goal is to address barriers to maintaining personal hygiene with the intent of lowering cutaneous disease rates and improving mental well-being. Click here to view the award-winning Research Poster.

    Housing

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    Mixed-methods Study of Female Homeownership in U.S. Cities

    PI: Japonica Brown-Saracino, PhD, Professor, Department of Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences and BU Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program
    Co-PI: Robin Bartram, PhD, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Tulane University

    Year Funding Awarded: 2020

    Brown-Saracino and Bartram will explore the origins and uneven distribution of single female homeownership rates across the United States, examining correlations between rates of female homeowners and indicators of social economic inequality. Understanding these concepts will be important to further examine how homeownership intersects with economic opportunity and social equality in contemporary U.S. society, and how gendered population dynamics emerge from and contribute to urban politics, culture, tourism, and patterns of consumption.

    Also related to: Economy & Race/Ethnicity/Gender

    The Effects of Social Housing on Neighborhoods: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Copenhagen

    PI: Yuhei Miyauchi, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, College of Arts & Sciences (CAS)
    Co-PI: Linh T. Tô, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, College of Arts & Sciences
    Collaborator: Bence Bøje-Kovács, Postdoctoral Researcher, Aalborg University

    Year Funding Awarded: 2020

    Miyauchi and Tô will investigate how social housing assignments for disadvantaged households influence their new neighbors’ economic and social outcomes in Denmark.

    Also related to: Economy

    The Politics of Rent: Power & Inequality in Low-Income Neighborhoods

    PI: Nicholas J. Henninger, MPP, PhD Candidate, Department of Political Science, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
    Co-PI: Katherine L. Einstein, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2020

    Henninger and Einstein will analyze the political power of landlords in US cities, with a particular focus on landlords operating in low-income and/or majority-minority neighborhoods. Using comprehensive rental property data, voter files, political donation data, and other information from more than twenty US cities, the researchers will highlight distinct differences in landlords across urban space and time. The researchers will then show how these landlords achieve their political goals at the municipal and state-level.

    Also related to: Economy & Urban Governance


    Evictions and Substandard Housing in Boston: The Unfulfilled Promises of the Public Health and Legal System

    PI: Wendy Heiger-Bernays, PhD, Clinical Professor of Environmental Health, School of Public Health
    Co-PIs: Ethan Mascoop, MPH, MUA, RS; Adjunct Clinical Instructor, Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health
    Collaborator: Andrea M. Park, JD, MA; Housing and Homelessness Attorney, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI)

    Year Funding Awarded: 2019

    Professor Wendy Heiger-Bernays, Ethan Mascoop, and collaborator Andrea Park will explore the relationship between public health, specifically housing codes, and the legal eviction process, designed in part to address substandard housing.

    Also related to: Health

    Locked Out: Examining the Use of Urban Housing Admissions Policies to Systematically Exclude Poor Renters

    PI: Megan Smith, MSW, PhD student; School of Social Work
    Co-PI: Thomas Byrne, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work

    Year Funding Awarded: 2019

    Motivated by previous research and practice with individuals facing barriers to affordable housing, PhD candidate Megan Smith and Professor Thomas Byrne – together with a team of researchers that includes people who have themselves experienced homelessness – will examine how affordable housing providers’ admissions policies create barriers to housing for individuals with criminal records, poor landlord histories, and/or poor credit histories. Specifically, this project will focus on Rhode Island’s affordable housing admissions policies using data from all 39 municipalities.

    Also related to: Economy

    The Choices, Experiences, and Role of Second Homeowners in Boston

    PI: Meaghan Stiman, PhD candidate, Department of Sociology, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
    Co-PI: Japonica Brown-Saracino, PhD, Professor, Department of Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences and BU Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program

    Year Funding Awarded: 2015

    Led by PhD candidate Meaghan Stiman under the advisement of Associate Professor Japonica Brown-Saracino, this study seeks to understand a rarely studied class of urban resident–the second homeowner. Stiman will evaluate how Boston second homeowners frame their residential choices and experiences, their civic, cultural and economic contributions, and their impact on neighborhood character over time.

    Also related to: Economy & Placemaking and Placekeeping

    Infrastructure

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    Socio-Spatial Politics of Risk Mitigation: Building-Scale Urban Transformation Maps of Istanbul, Turkey

    PI: Ladin Bayurgil, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
    Co-PI: Japonica Brown-Saracino, PhD, Professor, Department of Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences and BU Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program

    Year Funding Awarded: 2020

    Ladin’s research monitors and evaluates social, economic, and ecologic impacts of risk-mitigating urban policies. Through GIS mapping techniques, Ladin will generate a map of Turkey’s biggest city Istanbul’s earthquake risk mitigation efforts, particularly ongoing earthquake risk-driven urban transformation projects. This research allows academics and policy-makers to clearly assess the impacts of urban growth and neighborhood change.

    3D Models and Virtual Reality Techniques for Mapping & Analyzing Above and Underground Urban Infrastructures (UIMAGE)

    PI: Yaxiong Ma, PhD candidate, Department of Earth & Environment, College of Arts & Sciences
    Co-PIs: Sucharita Gopal, Professor, Department of Earth & Environment, College of Arts & Sciences, and Nathan Phillips, Professor, Department of Earth & Environment, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2017

    Led by PhD candidate Yaxiong Ma under the advisement of Professors Sucharita Gopal and Nathan Phillips, Ma will design, build, and test a prototype model to virtually map above- and below-ground infrastructure and use the data collected to create a realistic model for testing in two sites in Boston. The goal is produce a tool for city planners to coordinate placement and maintenance of above- and below-ground infrastructure.

    Media

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    Constructing City Images through Local Media: An Intermedia Agenda-Setting Analysis of Big Media Data

    PI: Lei Guo, Assistant Professor, Division of Emerging Media Studies, College of Communication
    Co-PI: Yiyan Zhang, PhD candidate; Division of Emerging Media Studies, College of Communication

    Year Funding Awarded: 2019

    By focusing on the top 30 most populated US cities (including Boston), Assistant Lei Guo and PhD candidate Yiyan Zhang will focus on how local media plays a critical role in communicating the status quo and vision of a city to audiences beyond the city, aiming to critically assess the impact of US local media in influencing the city portrayal in national, as well as international, media.

    Urban Refuge: Access to Information and Access to Aid for Syrian Refugees in Istanbul

    PI: Noora Anwar Lori, PhD, Assistant Professor of International Relations, Frederick S, Pardee School of Global Studies

    Year Funding Awarded: 2019

    Assistant Professor Noora Anwar Lori aims to create a comprehensive database (app and website) to coordinate aid among diverse service providers that seek to target vulnerable populations in dense urban centers. Because information and misinformation are largely shared via word of mouth, text messaging, and social media, most refugees do not use resources available to them. Lori hopes that this database will help close the gap between available aid resources and its utilization of those resources in cities.

    Also related to: Economy & Placemaking and Placekeeping

    Placemaking and Placekeeping

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    Folded Speech: An Ethics of Comings-and-Goings in an Accra Zongo

    PI: Emily Williamson, PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
    Co-PI: Joanna Davidson, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, College of Arts & Sciences; Associate Director, Kilachand Honors College

    Year Funding Awarded: 2021

    Emily Williamson’s research explores how proverbs offer windows into understanding how a migrant community in Nima-Accra, Ghana grapples with uncertainty.

    Living in the Future City: Migration, Class, and Placemaking in a Chinese “New Area”

    PI: Xuyi Zhao, PhD Student, Department of Anthropology, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
    Co-PI: Robert Weller, Professor, Department of Anthropology, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2021

    Zhao will explore how top-down urban planning interacts with placemaking from the bottom, looking at futurist imaginations of urban migrants who relocate to a state-level “new area” in Southwest China. This project aims at understanding urbanization and the building of smart cities through a careful examination of the temporal and social implications of living an unfulfilled middle-class life, as people navigate governmental narratives, trans-regional and transnational circuits of labor, technology, and capital, as well as brand new cityscapes in their efforts to build “better homes.”

    Also related to: Urban Governance

    “Shame oh Shame:” Robert Morris, Public Space, and Commemorating Black Boston

    PI: Mary Battenfeld, Clinical Professor, American and New England Studies Program, College of Arts & Sciences
    Co-PI: Perri Meldon, PhD Student, American and New England Studies Program, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2021

    African American lawyer Robert Morris (1823–1882) played a central role in civil rights struggles in Boston, particularly around school desegregation, yet is largely forgotten. The project goal is to collaborate with historic preservationists, Boston community residents, and Boston Public Schools students to create public commemorations for Morris’s 200th birthday. In the context of a contemporary racial reckoning that calls for reevaluation and removal of statues celebrating white men who enforced slavery and colonization, Battenfeld and Meldon link the activism of Morris and other 19th century Black Bostonians to today’s social justice movements.

    Also related to: Race/Ethnicity/Gender

    Cities and Alternative Spaces of Memory: Monuments and Counter-Monuments in New Orleans

    PI: Cynthia Becker, PhD, Associate Professor of African Art, Department of History of Art & Architecture, affiliated with the African Studies Center and the African American Studies Program

    Year Funding Awarded: 2020

    Becker uses the current debate around Confederate monuments as a springboard to consider the role counter-monuments play in urban environments, looking at them as structures and performances created to preserve marginalized histories. This project looks at how people have begun to reconsider their relationships to urban monuments and the political figures they memorialize and asks how we can rewrite the history of our cities to include multiple voices, including those often left out of official archives.

    Also related to: Race/Ethnicity/Gender

    Congregations in Contested Space: Gentrification and Latinx Churches in East Boston

    PI: Jonathan Calvillo, PhD, Assistant Professor of Sociology of Religion, School of Theology

    Year Funding Awarded: 2019

    Assistant Professor Jonathan Calvillo aims to understand how Latinx churches in the East Boston area are responding to gentrification, specifically how churches are engaging with the economic restructuring taking places in their surrounding communities.

    Also related to: Economy, Housing, & Religion/Theology

    Understanding Open-air Drug Markets Configuration

    PI: Andrea Beltran-Lizarazo, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2019

    PhD candidate Andrea Beltran-Lizarazo will explore the development of open-air drug markets in Colombia, where actors in the drug trade exert territorial control over central areas within cities. Specifically, Beltran Lizarazo will study the case of San Bernardo, in downtown Bogota, to understand what mechanisms benefited drug trade expansion and why the community ceded its neighborhood to the actors involved. Beltran Lizarazo seeks her findings can provide a basis for the comparative examination of open-air narcotic markets and its policy treatment beyond Colombia.

    Also related to: Policing/Incarceration/Crime & Urban Governance

    Cities in the Realm of State Preemption Laws

    PI: Luisa Godinez Puig, PhD candidate, Department of Political Science, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2018

    PhD candidate Luisa Godinez will investigate the validity in the surge of state preemption laws that restrict the autonomy of cities to prove if these laws have increased over time. She will further seek to understand which cities within the United States have been most affected by these laws, and why. Her research will contribute to the larger debate on federalization and use of centralization tools by the government.

    Also related to: Urban Governance

    Community Archeology on the Urban Periphery: The Tlajinga District at the Nexus of Ancient Teotihuacan and Modern Mexico City

    PI: David Carballo, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology and Latin American Studies, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2018

    Associate Professor David Carballo, who holds a joint appointment in Anthropology and Latin American Studies, will pioneer a new initiative of community-based archaeology at Teotihuacan, Mexico. Teotihuacan is an ancient Mesoamerican city and UNESCO World Heritage site whose urban periphery is being impacted by new construction associated with the sprawl of contemporary Mexico City. Professor Carballo seeks to introduce community members to the history and value of Teotihuacan and inspire them to become stewards in preservation efforts. This effort would help mitigate the community’s interests in expanding homes for their families with national and international interests in preservation and continued scientific investigation.

    Also related to: Housing

    Armored Cities: Violence and Urban Seclusion in Latin America

    PI: Ana Villarreal, Assistant Professor, College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Sociology

    Year Funding Awarded: 2017

    Assistant Professor Villarreal will examine “armored cities”, a new form of urban seclusion in Latin American cities whereby upper class residents create private cities within cities in response to community violence. She seeks to understand the ways in which increased violence may exacerbate urban inequality. Her fieldwork will take place in Monterrey, Mexico; San Antonio, Texas; Caracas, Venezuela; and Medellín, Colombia.

    Also related to: Policing/Incarceration/Crime

    Mapping Amman, Jordan: A 21st Century City

    PI: Betty Anderson, Professor, Pardee School of Global Studies and History, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2017

    Professor Betty Anderson with Georgetown University Associate Professor Fida Adely, will map mobility patterns in Amman, Jordan, a city of regions and neighborhoods historically segregated by socio-economic status. The author will examine how physical mobility is related to class, gender, age and nationality in modern Amman, as residents move across historic boundaries navigating newly privatized and neoliberal urban spaces as well as social media.

    Also related to: Economy & Infrastructure

    Gentrification Debates Revisited: Lessons from 30 Years of Sociological Research

    PI: Japonica Brown-Saracino, PhD, Professor, Department of Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences and BU Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program

    Year Funding Awarded: 2016

    Associate Professor Brown-Saracino will examine thirty years of extant gentrification scholarship to identify definitional differences, research trends and knowledge gaps. She will address examinations of racial, residential, commercial and educational impacts, gentrification’s origins, dynamics and consequences, conceptual differences in scholarly definitions of gentrification, and identify policy recommendations that have been put forward.

    Also related to: Housing, Race/Ethnicity/Gender & Urban Governance

    From “Street Car Suburb” to “Student Ghetto”: Allston and Urban Change

    PI: Sarah Hosman, PhD candidate, Department of Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences
    Co-PI: Japonica Brown-Saracino, PhD, Professor, Department of Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences and BU Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program

    Year Funding Awarded: 2016

    Sociology PhD candidate Sarah Hosman, under the advisement of Associate Professor of Sociology Japonica Brown-Saracino, will examine the urban identity of the Boston neighborhood of Allston. Hosman seeks to understand how the neighborhood’s fluctuating trajectory of change has influenced residents’ day-to-day practices and attitudes. She will examine the influence of Allston’s cultural and social frameworks on current practices like shopping and home-buying, which help to trigger change and investment.

    Also related to: Economy & Housing

    Refugee Livelihood and Work Permits in Urban Areas: The Case of Jordan

    PI: Noora Anwar Lori, Assistant Professor, Frederik Pardee School of Global Studies
    Co-PI: Vicky Kelberer, Masters Student, Frederik Pardee School of Global Studies

    Year Funding Awarded: 2016

    Assistant Professor Noora Anwar Lori with Pardee Masters student Vicky Kelberer and in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, seeks to develop an impact assessment of work permits on the livelihoods on Syrian refugees living in Jordan. Lori and Kelberer will examine the institutional, economic and house-hold level obstacles that may be contributing to the gap between the number of people willing and able to work and those who have formally entered the labor force, analyze the impact of work permit access on household vulnerability, and identify program revisions to enhance impact.

    Using Data to Inform Policy and Programmatic Responses to Unaccompanied Adult Homelessness in Boston

    PI: Thomas Byrne, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Welfare Policy, School of Social Work
    Co-PIs: Yoonsook Ha, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Welfare Policy, School of Social Work; Daniel Miller, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Welfare Policy, School of Social Work

    Year Funding Awarded: 2015

    Led by Assistant Professors Thomas Byrne, Yoonsook Ha, and Daniel Miller in collaboration with Mayor Walsh’s Task Force on Individual Homelessness, this project seeks to identify key gaps in existing knowledge about unaccompanied homeless adults who experience related episodes of shelter use over time. The findings from this project will provide crucial information that can inform ongoing efforts to address homelessness both within Boston, and in American cities more generally.

    Engineering Main Street: The Spatial Dimension of Organizations and Revitalization in Boston

    PI: Taylor Cain, PhD candidate, Department of Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences
    Co-PI: Japonica Brown-Saracino, PhD, Professor, Department of Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences and BU Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program

    Year Funding Awarded: 2015

    PhD candidate Taylor Cain, under the advisement of Associate Professor Japonica Brown-Saracino, seeks to identify how place attributes (including income, racial/ethnic composition, and residential and commercial property values) influence the strategies for and consequences of revitalization in two geographically proximate Main Street business districts in Boston.

    Also related to: Economy & Race/Ethnicity/Gender

    Policing/Incarceration/Crime

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    Race, Place, and Policing During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Multi-City Study

    PI: Jessica T. Simes, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, BU College of Arts & Sciences (CAS)
    Co-PI: Jaquelyn L. Jahn, Visiting Scholar, Department of Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2020

    Simes and Jahn will examine if and how COVID-19 has changed low-level policing—which includes enforcement and arrests based on quality-of-life offenses such as disorderly conduct, property damage, unauthorized public gathering, or trespassing—in eight U.S. cities, particularly with regard to the racial inequities in rates of police-initiated interactions.

    Also related to: Placemaking and Placekeeping & Race/Ethnicity/Gender

    Urban Policing and Racial Health Inequities

    PI: Julia Raifman, ScD; Assistant Professor, Health Law, Policy & Management, School of Public Health
    Co-PIs: Michael Ulrich, JD, MPH; Assistant Professor, Health Law, Ethics & Human Rights, Health Law, Policy & Management, School of Public Health, and Michael Siegel, MD; Professor, Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health

    Year Funding Awarded: 2019

    Professors Julia Raifman and Michael Ulrich with mentor Michael Siegel aim to evaluate the relationship between changes in urban policing and changes in racial health inequities. Through this, they hope to create an impactful database of urban policing policies and to inform police and the public about potential health and well-being implications of racial inequities in arrests.

    Also related to: Health & Race/Ethnicity/Gender

    The Geography of Mass Imprisonment

    PI: Jessica Simes, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2018

    Sociology Assistant Professor Jessica Simes seeks to bridge the gap in sociological research between the political and economic causes of the prison boom and the neighborhood-level impacts of mass incarceration to help explain a phenomenon found in small cities and suburbs: a disproportionately high rate of imprisonment, compared to larger cities. Professor Simes will build a Massachusetts-wide database of city budgets to study how local expenditures and revenue related to courts, policing, jails and other criminal justice institutions are correlated with imprisonment rates, and how differences in city practices help explain disproportionately higher rates of imprisonment in small cities and suburbs.

    Also related to: Placemaking and Placekeeping & Urban Governance

    Crime and Public Housing: A General Equilibrium Analysis

    PI: Jesse Bruhn, PhD Candidate, Department of Economics, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2017

    Economics PhD candidate Jesse Bruhn will quantify the impact that an ambitious public housing redevelopment project in Chicago known as the “Plan for Transformation” had on the temporal and geospatial distribution of criminal activity inside city limits.

    Also related to: Placemaking and Placekeeping & Race/Ethnicity/Gender

    Race/Ethnicity/Gender

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    Migration and the Geography of Racism in the U.S.

    PI: Martin Fiszbein, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, College of Arts & Sciences
    Co-PIs: Sam Bazzi, Associate Professor, School of Global Policy and
    Strategy & Department of Economics, UC San Diego; Thomas Pearson, PhD Student, Department of Economics, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences


    Year Funding Awarded: 2021

    Bazzi, Fiszbein, and Pearson will investigate whether and how postbellum migration of whites from former Confederate states to other places in the U.S influenced local institutions and culture in ways that reproduced racial animus in their destinations.

    Also related to: Placemaking and Placekeeping

    Race and Policing in America’s Cities: The Role of Mayors

    PI: Spencer Piston, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, College of Arts & Sciences
    Co-PIs: Chas Walker, PhD Student, Department of Political Science,
    Graduate School of Arts & Sciences; Nick Henninger-Ayoub, PhD Candidate, Department of Political Science, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences


    Year Funding Awarded: 2021

    Piston, Walker, and Henninger-Ayoub will examine how mayors conceive of the problems of police racism and violence, which solutions they believe will be most effective in addressing these problems, and whether any of these reforms do in fact result in an elimination of the racially-disparate police practices at the heart of recent protests. The project will enhance scholars’ and policy makers’ understanding of this important topic by investigating how mayors conceive of the problems of police racism and violence and they policy solutions they prioritize to resolve them, while also summarizing any existing evidence for the efficacy of those solutions.

    Also related to: Policing/Incarceration/Crime & Urban Governance

    The Slaying of Innocence

    PI: André de Quadros, EdD, Professor, Music Education, College of Fine Arts

    Year Funding Awarded: 2021

    The Slaying of Innocence is a music-theatre work that chronicles the true stories of two African American men who were given life sentences in prison at the ages of 15 and 16.

    Also related to: Policing/Incarceration/Crime

    Closing the Opportunity Gap in Early Education and Care by Recruiting and Training High Quality Literacy Teachers

    PI: Stephanie Curenton, Associate Professor, School of Education

    Year Funding Awarded: 2017

    Associate Professor Stephanie Curenton will evaluate Jumpstart, an early language and literacy program that trains AmeriCorps members to teach in under-resourced schools, to determine the impact of professional development training of volunteers, specifically regarding culturally responsive, anti-biased language, on children’s outcomes. Curenton will partner with Paul Leech, Chief Operating Officer of Nurtury, Inc., an advocacy and childcare organization operating in the Greater Boston area, which is working with Jumpstart as part of a career pathway partnership.

    Also related to: Youth

    Dehumanization in the City: How Urban Ghetto Black Male Imagery Activates Dehumanizing Attitudes toward Black People

    PI: Spencer Piston, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2017

    Through a national survey, Assistant Professor Spencer Piston will assess whether depictions of black men as “urban” and “ghetto” activate dehumanizing attitudes toward black people. The author will also assess the effectiveness of four potential rehumanization efforts, intended to increase empathy for black lives.

    Examining the Role of Crime, Race, & Politics in City‐Level Crime Control Outputs

    PI: Shea Cronin, Assistant Professor, Metropolitan College

    Year Funding Awarded: 2017

    Through a national survey, Professor Cronin will develop and analyze a new data set on city‐level crime control outputs, primarily focused on expenditures, discretionary arrest activity levels and racial disparities in discretionary arrest levels, in the context of local economic inequality, racial segregation and constituent policy preferences.

    Also related to: Economy, Policing/Incarceration/Crime, & Urban Governance

    Informing Municipal Policies & Identifying Best Practices to Support Women Survivors of Homicide

    PI: Linda Sprague Martinez, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work
    Co-PI: Kendall Johnson, Doctoral Student, School of Social Work

    Year Funding Awarded: 2016

    Boston University School of Social Work doctoral student Kendall Johnson and Boston University School of Social Work Assistant Professor Linda Sprague Martinez will conduct an in-depth analysis of the Women Survivors of Homicide Movement (WSOHM), aimed at informing the organization’s existing work. They will conduct systematic analysis of WSOHM and their change strategy and tactics in order to examine how multifaceted manifestations of power and privilege impact the manner in which the WSOHM identifies itself and seeks to create change.

    Also related to: Policing/Incarceration/Crime

    Pay Equity in the City of Boston

    PI: Azer Bestavros, Professor, Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science and Engineering
    Co-PI: Andrei Lapets, Research Fellow, Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science and Engineering

    Year Funding Awarded: 2015

    Professor Azer Bestavros and Hariri Research Fellow Andrei Lapets, in collaboration with Mayor Walsh’s Women’s Workforce Council, sought to create a proprietary software tool to enable area corporate employers to anonymously share employee wage data by gender, race/ethnicity, and level. The goal is to track the gender wage gap across thousands of employees in the Boston region over time, as employers introduce evidence-based interventions to remedy the gap.

    Also related to: Economy

    Religion/Theology

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    Dislocated Gods, De-territorialized Bodies: Temples, Space and Social Resilience in Urbanizing China

    PI: Robert P. Weller, PhD, Professor, Boston University Department of Anthropology
    Co-PI: Keping Wu, PhD, Associate Professor, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University Department of China Studies

    Year Funding Awarded: 2019

    Professors Robert P. Weller and Keping Wu will examine the lives of the resettled people in what used to be five rural townships at the edge of the wealthy city of Suzhou, now living in large, low-end apartment complexes. How are the residents rebuilding social and personal lives in the city?

    Also related to: Housing & Placemaking and Placekeeping

    Urban Governance

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    How Are Cities Responding to the COVID-19 Housing Crisis?

    PI: Katherine Levine Einstein, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, BU College of Arts & Sciences (CAS)
    Co-PI: Maxwell Palmer, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, CAS

    Year Funding Awarded: 2020

    Einstein and Palmer will examine the patchwork of housing policies created in response to the COVID-19 crisis for the 150 largest cities in the United States and for the 101 member communities of the Greater Boston Metropolitan Area Planning Commission. They seek to understand which policies are most successful, what factors predict how and in what ways cities have responded, and who is helped by such programs. Working in partnership with the Citizens’ Housing & Planning Association (CHAPA), they will help disseminate information about available housing assistance to local government agencies and residents in Massachusetts who are most in need.

    Also related to: Housing

    The Effects of Civil Service Reform on Local Government: Evidence from the Progressive Era

    PI: James Feigenbaum, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, College of Arts & Sciences
    Co-PI: Abhay Aneja, JD, Assistant Professor of Law, UC Berkeley School of Law

    Year Funding Awarded: 2020

    Feigenbaum and Aneja will explore the effects of civil service reforms during the early 20th century on American cities, their citizens, and on the patronage employees targeted by these reforms. Reforms during the growth and development of cities, many of which included merit systems, are key to understanding the development of local and state governments and politics. Evaluating the effects of these reforms will highlight how public sector employment was shaped, and will help to understand the consequences and challenges of urban governance reform.

    Impact of Natural Disasters on City Integrity

    PI: Giovanna Marcolongo, PhD Candidate, Department of Economics, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2018

    PhD candidate Giovanna Marcolongo aims to use statistical analysis to examine the relationship between emergencies— defined as municipalities’ declaration of a “state of emergency” — and corruption in local government, particularly focusing on public procurement outcomes. She will investigate how public procurement contracts are awarded, and if there are trends in who they are awarded to.

    The Effects of Ethnically Segregated Urban Neighborhoods: Evidence from Malaysia’s New Villages

    PI: Jia De Gedeon Lin, PhD Candidate, Department of Economics, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2018

    PhD candidate Jia De Gedeon Lin plans to study the impacts of the “New Village Program” in British Malaya on the current urban prosperity and interethnic preferences of urban dwellers in Malaysia. He will examine the effects of long-run ethnic segregation between 1949 to 1956 from the New Village program; he seeks to quantify these effects as defined via inter-ethnic occupational and income inequality, as well as national identity and ethnic integration today.

    Also related to: Placemaking and Placekeeping & Race/Ethnicity/Gender

    Understanding the Social Justice Function of Youth Councils

    PI: Astraea Augsberger, Assistant Professor, Clinical Practice, School of Social Work
    Co-PI: Mary Collins, Professor and Associate Dean, School of Social Work

    Year Funding Awarded: 2015

    Assistant Professor Astraea Augsberger and Professor and Associate Dean Mary Collins are examining the origin, structure, activities and impact of youth councils in twenty municipalities in the Boston metropolitan region, with the goal of developing a typology and identifying best practices.

    Also related to: Youth

    What Mayors Think: National Politics in Local Policy

    PI: Katherine Einstein, Assistant Professor
    Co-PI: David Glick, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2015

    In their new study, Assistant Professors Katherine Einstein and Associate Professor David Glick, lead-authors of the 2014 and 2015 Menino Survey of Mayors, will combine extensive mayoral interview data with municipal capital expenditures, mayoral support for city ordinances and mayoral demographic data. They will seek to evaluate the extent to which national policies influence local politics, how closely mayoral policymaking follows national guidelines, and if mayoral policy agendas are influenced by national agendas.

    Youth

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    Examining Dually-Involved Black, Indigenous, and Youth of Color’s Reentry Experiences in Massachusetts

    PI: Noor Toraif, PhD Candidate, School of Social Work (SSW)
    Co-PI: Astraea Augsberger, PhD, Assistant Professor, SSW

    Year Funding Awarded: 2021

    Toraif’s mixed methods study will examine the experiences of dually-involved (receiving services from both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems) Black, Indigenous, and Youth of Color navigating reentry in Massachusetts, as well as factors that facilitate positive reentry experiences.

    Also related to: Race/Ethnicity/Gender & Policing/Incarceration/Crime

    Lived Experiences of Boston Youth During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    PI: Yasuko Kanno, Associate Professor, Language and Literacy Education, BU Wheelock College of Education & Human Development
    Co-PI: Jonathan Zaff, Research Professor, Applied Human Development; Director, CERES Institute for Children & Youth, BU Wheelock College of Education & Human Development

    Year Funding Awarded: 2021

    Through exploring the lived experiences of Black and Latinx high school students and English learners (ELs) in Boston who have stopped attending school or are tenuously engaged with school during the pandemic, we will be able to share insights with education and youth development leaders in Boston. These insights will inform their strategic planning efforts and aid in their collective goal of supporting young people of color and ELs once schools re-open fully in the fall, providing educational and other life supports that can be more personalized to each young person’s needs.

    Seeking Educational Spaces: Syrian Refugees and the Landscape of Amman, Jordan

    PI: Kelley Gourley, PhD Student, Department of Anthropology, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
    Co-PI: Ayşe Parla, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, College of Arts &
    Sciences


    Year Funding Awarded: 2021

    Gourley will research the barriers Syrian and Jordanian youth in Amman, Jordan face when attempting to access formal and non-formal educational spaces and how youth conceptualize the educational spaces they are able to access. Using ethnographic fieldwork, participant observation, and mapping, she will investigate the exclusionary nature of the city while deeply engaging with youth to understand their aspirations, the challenges they face, and the strategies they employ in navigating the city and educational opportunities.

    Youth Emergency Mental Health Response in Boston

    PI: Jennifer Greif Green, PhD, Associate Professor, Special Education, BU Wheelock College of Education & Human Development
    Co-PIs: Astraea Augsberger, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work (SSW); Christina Borba, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, BU School of Medicine; Boston Medical Center; Margaret Carroll, PhD Student, BU Wheelock College of Education & Human Development; Gloria Ng, Dual-Degree Master’s Student, SSW and School of Public Health

    Year Funding Awarded: 2021

    Green, Augsberger, Borba, Carroll, and Ng will identify and analyze existing youth mental health crisis response resources in the city of Boston that can be used by members of the Boston Public School community, as an alternative to relying on emergency service providers, and to reduce racial inequities. This project builds on work of the Boston Youth Mental Health Crisis Response Coalition, that was established in 2019 with the goal of designing and conducting multidisciplinary research to improve emergency mental health response for youth in Boston.

    Also related to: Health

    Addressing the Workforce Needs of Youth in Urban Settings: A Study of Local Workforce Development Boards’ Inclusion of Youth Expertise

    PI: Mary Collins, PhD, MA, Chair of Social Welfare Policy & Professor, School of Social Work

    Year Funding Awarded: 2020

    Collins aims to understand how Local Workforce Development Boards in urban areas address the needs of opportunity youth by focusing on implementation processes, inclusion of youth perspectives, and key policy networks at local and state levels.

    Also related to: Urban Governance

    Partnering with Families with Limited English Proficiency to Promote Language Justice and Equity in Education Settings

    PI: Catalina Tang Yan, MS, PhD candidate; School of Social Work
    Co-PI: Linda Sprague Martinez, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work

    Year Funding Awarded: 2019

    In partnership with Loreto Paz Ansaldo, a community interpreter and translator, along with community stakeholders, as well as Massachusetts Advocates for Children, PhD candidate Catalina Tang Yan and Professor Linda Sprague Martinez hope to promote equity in education settings by seeking to understand the experiences and recommendations of limited English proficiency families whose children are enrolled in Special Education programs.

    Also related to: Race/Ethnicity/Gender

    Reducing Identity-Based Harassment for Marginalized Youth: An Evaluation of the Anti-Defamation League’s Peer Leader Program among Urban Youth

    PI: Melissa Holt, PhD, Associate Professor, Counseling Psychology and Applied Human Development; Wheelock College of Education and Human Development (WCEDHD)
    Co-PIs: Christine Marsico, PhD candidate; Counseling Psychology, WCEDHD, and Jennifer Greif Green, PhD, Associate Professor, Special Education, WCEDHD

    Year Funding Awarded: 2019

    In partnership with New England’s Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Professors Melissa Holt and Jennifer Greif Green and PhD candidate Christine Marsico, will examine the extent to which the ADL’s Peer Training Program, a program that emphasizes ally and bystander behaviors, can serve as a lever for decreasing identity-based bullying and harassment in urban schools, particularly among traditionally marginalized youth.

    Celebration of Diversity Amidst Privilege: A Study of the Suburbs

    PI: Whitney Gecker, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, School of Social Work and College of Arts & Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2017

    Sociology & Social Work PhD candidate Whitney Gecker seeks to understand how young people in an affluent suburb experience and respond to racial and economic insularity, and make sense of diversity and privilege. The author will use Newton MA as a case study to explore the relationship between socio-economic segregation and the promotion of diversity in the context of youth development.

    Summer Mental Health Access for Urban Youth

    PI: Jennifer Greif Green, Associate Professor, School of Education
    Co-PIs: Rachel Oblath, PhD Candidate, School of Education; Assistant Professor Elizabeth Bettini, School of Education; Professor Donna Pincus, School of Education, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

    Year Funding Awarded: 2017

    Associate Professor Jennifer Grief Green in collaboration with Assistant Professor Elizabeth Bettini, Professor Donna Pincus and PhD candidate Rachel Oblath will investigate if and/or where urban youth access mental health services in summer months in order to identify barriers to mental health access, the quality of summer mental health services, and the association between summer mental health access and the social and emotional profiles of youth. Green and her team will conduct this research in Boston, Brockton and Fall River.

    Also related to: Health

    Promoting Academic Success in Urban Head Start Children: A Pilot Study to Enhance Cognitive Control Through Metacognitive Monitoring

    PI: Amanda Tarullo, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
    Co-PIs: Ruth Paris, Associate Professor and Director of the Family Certificate Program, School of Social Work; and Kathleen Corriveau, Assistant Professor, School of Education

    Year Funding Awarded: 2016

    Assistant Professor Amanda Tarullo, Associate Professor and Director of the Family Certificate Program Ruth Paris, and Assistant Professor Kathleen Corriveau will conduct a study of urban preschool children in Boston to determine if metacognitive monitoring – reflecting on and judging one’s own performance – could contribute to improved cognitive control among vulnerable youth.