10/30/12: Class Presentations, Part 2

SarahAccess to Higher Education
Visual aids: poster from former research highlighting “Distance Education as ‘Gateway’ to Increasing Educational Attainment for Rural Populations,” and handout on access to education. Striking link between education level and average length of time of unemployment.
“Knowledge worker” is a term coined by coined by Peter Drucker. Since WWII average job has more to do with information than production. Today, capacity of workers don’t line up with the jobs we have.
Geographic access is huge.
This paper focused on financial access—tangled with issues of class, race/ethnicity, gender.
Restriction by preparation: are you ready to go to college? (Emotionally, socially, educationally, etc.)
Other barriers? Is public housing in places with low-quality schools, low access to higher ed?
Self-perpetuating cycle may be present, particularly in rural areas, which often have a culture of looking down on people who may try to better themselves.

How could Tufts help through financial/non-financial means? Tufts has many programs that often fly under the radar of the general public. Two things Tufts could do better: be more strategic—access to higher ed is aligned with Tufts vision statement, but not specifically mentioned. Do a better job of communicating within the university as well as in the community at large. Why haven’t many of us on campus heard more about these programs? Difficult to find for those who don’t know where to look. More comprehensive/cohesive approach needed.

Future research: approach interviewees. Begin to address the question of tension between having an elitist mission and a mission based on democratization. Can a top university have a mission that embraces both? Tension between helping everyone and training the best of the best.

Thriving and succeeding in a place is a huge issue; how much does Tufts encourage and ensure retention of students?

Pat—access to education: assessing the effectiveness of Northeastern University’s Boston Housing Authority scholarship program
Pat presented her preliminary research, which highlighted the history of both Northeastern University and the Boston Housing Authority and began assessing extent of outreach to potential Northeastern students.

Why this partnership? In past experience in career, when helping parents who wanted children to go to college. Northeastern’s scholarship program is over 28 years old, but rarely publicized. Some facts: 7% of Boston’s workforce is employed in higher ed. Northeastern pays $1 million in taxes on top of PILOT. Very difficult history with surrounding neighborhoods, particularly Whittier St. housing development. This scholarship allows any student from Boston Housing Authority homes to attend Northeastern free of charge, with a few criteria: achievement of a certain GPA, participation in civic engagement, letter verifying BHA residency.

Boston Housing Authority (BHA): also encompasses surrounding cities (e.g. Revere, Charlestown). 58% did not complete high school. 277 residents have taken advantage of this program over 28 years, out of 14,000 units of housing. Why such a miniscule number of students? Wants to look at criteria, requirements.

Community conversations indicate that many residents haven’t heard of the scholarship program, including one person whose child was attending NU. Higher education is a polarizing issue in community: in some of these housing areas, education makes the difference between being stuck and having a “way out.” Research will entail personal interviews as well as small focus groups. Mission Main, Orchard Gardens, and Alice Hayword Taylor are three housing developments to be examined.

The results will be formatted in a creative way to reach the most people. Talking to METCO and Boston high school guidance counselors. Are there demographic factors? (e.g. does BHA housing have a lot of older people?) Would it make more sense to focus on high school education, etc, given low graduation rate.

Dorothy—Anchor planning for other anchors
Medical Academic and Scientific Community Organization (MASCO) is a group in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area, which contains 24 anchors within 213 acres. Cultural, research, medical institutions from high school-graduate level. 18.1 million ft2 of development. $3.66 billion total net patient service revenue, $113 million state income tax. Many service/support jobs provided, coming from surrounding areas (Fenway, Brighton, Jamaica Plain, Dorchester, Roxbury). Not much transit access.

MASCO provides long-term strategic planning as well as immediate services. Immediate services include transportation; MASCO runs shuttles from major train stations in the area, because it is impossible for every employee to bring a car. Bicycle/pedestrian access planning. This service makes a big difference in people deciding to work there/businesses deciding to locate there. Doesn’t make sense for businesses to dedicate valuable space to parking. Not an uncommon problem in Boston, but the area is unique because bordered by heavily trafficked corridors and has limited public transit.

Many successes: participated in growth far higher than target, runs 10 privately owned shuttles, and between 2000 and 2008 reduced drive-alone commuting by 20%, increased transit ridership by 9%, and increased bicycling/walking by 6%.

Next steps: interviews with MASCO Commuteworks, planning division, and member organization.
re. short and long term goals, project expansions.

Taka—anchor institutions that act as managers/coordinators.
Yokohama, Japan is 20 miles from Tokyo. 2nd largest city in Japan, but overshadowed by Tokyo. Goal: to become an important city in its own right. Large port city, center for car manufacturing. Port needed to expand, so lots of land reclamation outside of city center led to motivation to redevelop city center as business district.

Minato-mirai 21 Corporation was established in early 1980s to attract headquarters of private companies, small businesses and new entrepreneurs—primary roles to manage types and locations of business, execute area management, institutionalize local rules or agreements with city and landowners. First funded by city, now also annual fees from supporters, user fees for services, rents from tenants. Managers are from some private companies and from city—different from US business improvement districts, which are run by completely separate managers.

Major themes: consistency and flexibility. There has been a fairly consistent ratio between uses of space. In 2009, MM21 switched from role as coordinator to voluntary business participation, changed from 3rd sector to generic corporation. Adapted to meet needs of district. Will it be a challenge to balance consistency and flexibility in the future?

Challenges and next steps: -As more businesses move to the district, should MM21 attempt to expand membership, or should they work without their support? -Get residents involved—many housing developments have been built in the area. -Examine decision-making process in the organization, how MM21takes coordinating role, how compromises are achieved when opinions differ.

Lawrence—community revitalization in a rural Florida town
After experience working in Gretna, Florida for many years, plans to move there after graduation to work for a local nonprofit organization. This paper examines the context of the town itself and explores potential anchor institution partners.

Gretna, FL: 400 households, very poor, majority Black. Not much recorded history. Median income about $10k less than national average. <30% of the population college educated, 60% have a high school diploma. 80% of population born in Gretna—not much movement in or out. Unemployment rate around national average. About 50% of women in community employed in health care—unclear why.

Potential anchors: Florida State University, Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, Gadsden County Public Libraries, and a new gambling facility in town. FSU has a planning department and a “Florida Planning and Development Lab” that partners with groups outside to benefit communities. Tallahassee Memorial Hospital has Center for Health Care Careers—works with local high schools and FSU. Gadsden County Public Library has one main branch in Quincy and two satellite branches but don’t do much outreach beyond young children. New gambling facility in Gretna has been controversial. Ownership of casino has claimed they want to partner with community members. Also providing a huge tax boost to community.

Next steps: Research other communities’ relationships with casinos. Are there examples of successful community-casino relationships? Talk with Gretna’s leadership about vision of the community’s future. Learn more about Gretna’s history; part of the town’s revitalization might be to create its first written history. This can be a major opportunity for a coordinating anchor.

Brytanee–Grocery  stores as anchor institutions in traditionally African-American neighborhoods.

Brytanee plans to examine a set of these within a specific geographic context. This is a difficult approach because data is limited. Inspired by her own experiences with a local grocer in Oakland, Mildred D. Taylor books.

Lenses to look through: anti-racist historical narrative, fighting against oppression. Fictional accounts (e.g. Mildred D. Taylor). Entrepreneurs. Negotiation of non-Black minority grocers in traditionally Black neighborhoods. (Al Sharpton protesting Korean grocers in NY in 1980s). Brief journalistic accounts in blogs and newspapers. Nutritional perspective.

The nutritional perspective, with anti-obesity initiatives, has perhaps been the most highly-publicized. Interplay between media accounts and nutritional perspective is what interests Brytanee.

Colored Merchants’ Association est. 1929 in Winston-Salem in response to chain stores. At that time grocers made up majority of Black business owners.

Their Eyes Were Watching God— novel by Zora Neale Hurston, another example of African-American grocers in literature. In the first incorporated Black town, in Florida, the mayor owns a neighborhood grocery store.

Why were there so many Black grocery stores? Many Blacks were familiar with agriculture, and opening a store presented a strong alternative to being a wage worker. Compared to Korean or Chinese grocery stores, African-American stores are much more likely to fail. One theory—African-American stores are more likely to grant credit to customers who may or may not pay back.

Interviews will begin with community members and owners of a grocery store called Chatham in Chicago’s South Side.

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