City Planning & Urban Affairs Students Make Impact with South Boston Curb Usage Study

A major component to any Metropolitan College (MET) education is hands-on experience within a given field. Students studying for their Master of City Planning or Master of Urban Affairs are given opportunities to connect with policymakers, urban leaders, and academics. And in fall 2021, through BU’s Initiative on Cities (IoC) MetroBridge program, students got the chance to work with the City of Boston to contribute to a real-world project—studying curb usage in South Boston.

It happened in Assistant Professor and Interim Director of City Planning and Urban Affairs Yesim Sungu-Eryilmaz’s Urban Research Methods (MET UA 703) class. There, students grappled with the curb space of Boston’s West Broadway corridor, and its competing needs between commercial deliveries and residential parking.

“The overriding goal . . . was for students to engage in the process of scientific research and to learn to link substantive research and policy questions to appropriate data and research methods,” says Sungu-Eryilmaz.

Students were broken into three groups, with one studying historical precedents, another designing the methodology of data collection, and the third crunching the data.

“They were amazed at how many curb violations were happening and felt empowered to be able to provide supporting data and numbers to highlight the curb issues on West Broadway,” says Sungu-Eryilmaz.

Read more at BU’s Initiative on Cities.