UEP Student Internship Spotlight: Jonathan Diaz
| June 26, 2015 | 1:21 pm | UEP Internshuips | No comments

Jonathan Diaz is a rising second year Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning graduate student and this summer is a Fellow at the United States Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. The mission of the Department of Energy is to utilize technology and science to ensure the security and prosperity of America’s energy, environmental, and nuclear challenges. Jonathan has been working closely with the Office of Environmental Management (EM) and the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity (ED).

EM is charged with the task of completing the safe cleanup of the environmental legacy of nuclear weapons development and government-sponsored nuclear energy research. Jonathan has been writing a youth involvement policy for Site-Specific Advisory Boards, who provide recommendations to the Energy Department on nuclear waste clean-ups. In addition, he has been rewriting a program wide policy for Congressional Notifications regarding contractual awards administered by the Department. Other projects have included reviewing internal communication strategies and procedures, and preparing briefing materials for the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department.

Jonathan has also completed work for ED, which strives to ensure that historically under-represented communities are able to participate in the programs, opportunities, and resources offered by the Department of Energy. Jonathan is a member of a working group aimed to establish a database of minority educational institutions and businesses that can potentially benefit from connecting to the Department of Energy.

UEP Student Internship Spotlight: Kate Ito
| June 15, 2015 | 4:44 pm | Uncategorized | Comments closed
The first in a series spotlighting UEP students' summer projects and internships 

Rising UEP second-year and public health planner at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Kate Ito is in Oakland, California this summer, interning with Human Impact Partners. Human Impact Partners conducts research, advocacy and capacity building to help organizations and government agencies understand the effects of their projects and policies on community health. They are one of the few organizations in the U.S. conducting health-based analyses and health impact assessments (HIA) with an explicit focus on uncovering and then addressing the policies and practices that make communities less healthy and create health inequities. HIAs utilize public health data and predictions about newly minted policies to measure its impacts, and Human Impact Partners makes recommendations on ways to mitigate negative effects as well as strengthening positive impacts.

Kate’s research at Human Impact Partners includes a health lens analysis of displacement concerns in Santa Fe, NM and a health impact assessment of a proposed bill in the Minnesota State Legislature that would regulate payday lending. Building on her experience in public health in Greater Boston, there is no doubt that Kate’s work will have important implications for policy and public health in the rest of the nation. Reports outlining the results of previous HIAs can be found here.

Controversial New MBTA Plan from Governor Baker
| June 5, 2015 | 2:43 pm | Uncategorized | Comments closed

The new governor has proposed a $82.7 million plan for upgrades to MBTA infrastructure and snow removal equipment, according to a recent article. The plan will be funded through a mix of federal dollars for capital investment and the MBTA’s own capital and operating funds. The plan proposes formalizing the use of prison labor to assist in snow removal, which the city used during this year’s particularly rough winter. Prisoners, making a few dollars a day, worked alongside union workers earning $30 per hour. This winter’s use of prison labor quickly stirred up controversy, though one could have possibly made the “desperate time/desperate measures” argument. Formalizing this unfair system takes it to the next level, so it will be interesting to see what the MassDOT Board thinks when it is officially presented with the plan on next week.

A recent op-ed by Shirley Leung in the Boston Globe has proposed increased reliance on privatization as a way to fix the MBTA’s woes. She sites the already privatized commuter rail and ferry functions as examples of ways for Boston to shed some of its admittedly costly functions. For example, a typical bus ride costs the MBTA $2.74 per passenger, while the new late-night bus service costs around $20 per passenger. Leung suggests outsourcing some late night and low-ridership services to Bridj, a relatively recent startup with a demand-based schedule. She also suggests cutting a deal with unions in order to quell fears of job losses.

In order for this to work, it would have to overcome what is known as the Pacheco Bill, created in 1993 to prevent then governor Bill Weld’s efforts at privatization. Governor Baker is working to “free the MBTA from the constraints of Pacheco.” The devastating effects of last winter have created widespread demand for something to be done about the MBTA’s aging infrastructure, but outsourcing work to cheap prison labor and inviting corrupt race-to-the-bottom contracting with private firms means the people of Boston need to keep a close eye on MBTA politics and how the city and state respond to their demands.

UEP 2015 Student Award Recipients
| May 29, 2015 | 2:20 pm | Uncategorized | Comments closed

Another successful academic year has gone by, and the impressive work and research conducted by several UEP students hasbeen rewarded with recognition and awards.

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Kristin Haas, MA 2015, is the recipient of the Outstanding Academic Scholarship Award, given by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering. The award recognizes Kristin’s overall academic achievement, including course grades, paper quality, and thesis. Kristin defended her thesis “The Benefits, Drawbacks, and Limitations of Service Coordination Tools: Perspectives from Social Service Providers in Somerville, Massachusetts” in April.

 

 

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Rebecca Tumposky, MA 2015, was selected for the Robert M. Hollister Award for Community Service and Citizenship for her contribution to the greater community, outside of Tufts. Becca’s thesis was on “Educating Practical Visionaries at Tufts University: A Framework for Community-University Co-Learning.”

 

 

 

 

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Allentza Michel, MPP 2015, was named as the Association for Community Design’s inaugural ACD Fellow after serving as co-chair of the City of Boston’s Participatory Budgeting Project in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

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Jonathan Diaz, MA 2016, received the Presidential Award for Citizenship and Public Service for his work with various Tufts organizations and community service work. This includes the Tufts University Refugee Assistance Program, for whose work Jonathan and others were chosen to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University and present on a new mentorship program for unaccompanied minors in the Somerville area. Jonathan has also volunteered with Environment America and the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston.

We hope that next year’s cohort will be as successful as this year’s, and we look forward to seeing all the award-worthy work that UEP produces this Summer.

Land, Wealth, and Community Control
| May 18, 2015 | 1:46 pm | Uncategorized | Comments closed

A Co-Learning Workshop on Race and Community Economies

Last Tuesday, an event co-sponsored by the Tufts Practical Visionaries Workshop, the Center for Economic Democracy and the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative convened nearly 70 people from local Boston communities, Tufts, and MIT for a chance to converse over breakfast and coffee, a tour of the Dudley Neighbors Inc. Community Land Trust and the Dudley Greenhouse.

Tour of Dudley Neighbors Inc.

Tour of Dudley Neighbors Inc.

The Dudley Greenhouse

The Dudley Greenhouse

The event was meant to bring together both academics and community practitioners in order to foster a better understanding of building community power, especially regarding land. Much of the day was spent learning about the community land trust model, something that DSNI has been practicing successfully for the last 30 years. In Roxbury and Dorchester, DSNI and Dudley Neighbors Inc. have provided affordable housing, open space, and urban agriculture opportunities for local residents and other nonprofits by leasing the land and overlying buildings, while owning the land in a long-term trust to preserve its affordability.

Lunch was provided by Roxbury’s own Haley House Bakery Cafe, after which was held a panel on the history of struggles for community control over land in Boston. Panelists included Diane Dujon, Chuck Turner, Suzanne Lee, Bob Haas, and Che Madyun.

Community Control over Land Panelists

Community Control over Land Panelists

The final events included educational workshops on community land trusts, run by Tufts Practical Visionaries Workshop participants Penn Loh and myself, as well as Harry Smith, director of Dudley Neighbors Inc. Following that was a workshop on community finance strategies, facilitated by Aaron Tanaka and Jennifer Ly, of the Center for Community Economics.

The day was informative for all participants, and gave a much needed opportunity to for academics and urban planning students to come together with community partners to build solidarity in meeting shared goals. This combination of theory and practice can be seen in DSNI’s work with community land trusts and collaboration with Tufts UEP through the Practical Visionaries Workshop.

 

2015 GIS Poster Expo!
| May 8, 2015 | 2:39 pm | Events | Comments closed

The 2015 GIS Poster Expo took place this week, showcasing the work and research of UEP, Fletcher, civil and environmental engineering, undergraduates and others. Project topics ranged from food hub site suitability to transportation access to international conflict sites. Each project used Geographic Information System to create maps of issues related to their studies.
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This poster, by Griffin Richards, focused on Massachusetts salt marshes, and below Timothy Grant looks at property values along the Malden River.

Poster by Griffin Richards

Poster by Griffin Richards

Poster by Timothy Grant

Poster by Timothy Grant

 

The event culminated in an awards ceremony, with several runners up shown below:

Runner Up Poster by Gabe Joseph

Runner Up Poster by Gabe Joseph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Runner Up poster by Danielle Ngo, Sol Ucciani and Alister Wood, made for the Acadia Center.

Runner Up poster by Danielle Ngo, Sol Ucciani and Alister Wood, made for the Acadia Center.

Runner Up Poster by Juan Taborda

Runner Up Poster by Juan Taborda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The winner of the event was Fletcher student Wil Mackey, whose project focused on violent events related to the war in Iraq. His project took the form of an interactive web site, and the user could scroll through a number of maps and charts with a deeper level of analysis.

Expo Winner: Wil Mackey

GIS Expo Winner: Wil Mackey

GIS Expo Winner: Wil Mackey

GIS Expo Winner: Wil Mackey

The event provided an opportunity for researchers across different fields to compare methods of using Geographic Information Systems in their work, and acted as a reunion for GIS classes from the previous semester.

UEP Colloquium: Reflections on Engaged Universities
| April 30, 2015 | 1:56 pm | Anchor Institutions, Colloquium | Comments closed

In the final installment of UEP’s Spring Colloquium Series on April 1, Lorlene Hoyt, Amy Newcomb Rowe, and Brianda Hernandez – Director of Programs and Research, Program Manager, and Graduate Assistant at the Tailloires Network, respectively – presented “Stories of Leadership from Engaged Universities Around the World.”  Hoyt opened the presentation by encouraging the audience to conceive of education as a political act, which can either propagate conformity or prepare students  to “participate in the transformation of their world.”

In supporting the latter ideal, the idea of an “Engaged University” stands in stark contrast to the popularized depiction of Academia as a remote and aloof province. Engaged Universities breach the walls of the insular Ivory Tower, instead focusing resources to address challenges of life, such as poverty, illiteracy, disease, and natural disaster. Globally, students from disadvantaged backgrounds are barred access to higher education by financial, social, and political barriers. In order to counter the inegalitarian trend, in 2005 Tufts University sponsored the formation of the Tailloires Network, a network of university representatives, community partners, and funders who believe in, and actively tether, the idea of the engaged university to the ground in different countries around the world. At its inception, the Tailloires Network’s members included 29 university heads from 23 countries; today, the network extends across 75 countries, with more than 340 university heads counted as members.

In order to allow audience members to more closely examine individual instances of Engaged Universities in practice, they split into three groups, each focusing on a story emerging from a TN partner institution located in the Global South: American University of Cairo (Egypt), Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico), and International Medical University (Malaysia). Despite the divergent social, cultural, and political contexts, each of the three stories presented described the risk and unpredictability inherent in working to break down entrenched inequalities; however, the stories also  demonstrated the rewards of these labors, such as self awareness, courage, and resilience. As stages of struggle for the advancement of public life, coupled with the vital resources which they contain, Universities have a unique and essential role to play in moving the larger society towards alignment with the values of justice and inequality. However, as the colloquium session demonstrated, such movement depends upon purposeful leadership and concerted collective action. The Talloires Network and its dedicated staff continue to build the capacity necessary to achieve the vision enshrined in the idea of the Engaged University.

Alicia Garza: Black Womyn Lives Matter
| April 17, 2015 | 2:49 pm | Events | Comments closed

Experiences from within the Movement

Black Lives Matter activist Alicia Garza visited the Tufts Interfaith Center on Wednesday to touch on a number of issues related to the movement. In line with the title of the talk, Garza began by highlighting the history of police violence against black women and black transwomen. The black lives matter slogan and hashtag have become associated with black men due to the several highly publicized cases, and resulting non-indictments. She also emphasized that the movement is not new and not just a hashtag. Much of this can be found in an article, written by Garza, titled “A Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement.”

The audience was led through a history of police violence in the speaker’s life, including the Rodney King beatings, trial, and ensuing riots, as well as the murder of Oscar Grant a few blocks from Garza’s house in Oakland. She cited the importance of video recording in these cases, the only reason honest recountings of these events were ever able to come out to the public.

Garza related the history of police and police violence to the history of slavery in America, and made connections between indigenous rights movements all over the world, from Colombia to South Africa, which have also held protests using the #BlackLivesMatter slogan. She sees the underlying theme of these global events as all resulting from neoliberalism and the protection of profitmaking ventures. Finally, she asked the audience to think about how voting at the national level can help propel the movement forward. How can a presidential candidate, also expected to protect neoliberal profitmaking entities, effect changes in police policy toward black communities. Implied in this was the importance to work at the local organizing level.

With the end of the semester approaching, it is important that the movement’s momentum can continue. Hopefully Tufts will be host to more events like this in order to keep the conversation going.

Tufts’ Green Line Extension Planning:
| April 7, 2015 | 11:02 pm | Events | Comments closed

A Student-Run Design Charrette

UEP’s 2015 Field Projects team, working with the Tufts Campus Planning Office and the Tufts Office of Sustainability, hosted a charrette last week in order to get the community’s input on the proposed MBTA extension to Tufts campus at College Ave. Team members and UEP students, Betsy Byrum, Nathaniel Fink, Xiang Yu, and Rayn Riel facilitated a series of discussions on the impacts to pedestrians, drivers, and bicyclists, as well as the possible design features of the station and surrounding area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proposed Green Line station location

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The room was filled with interested community members, who enjoyed the free lunch and green tea offering (get it, Green T?). One proposal was that of “shared space,” which would slow down vehicle traffic and give priority to pedestrians and bicyclists. However, traffic lights would be eliminated, thus decreasing pollution due to idling. The result would be a safer space with a greater sense of place.

UEP first year Nathaniel Fink leading a discussion

The Field Projects team got a lot of input and will produce a final report at the end of the semester. The Green Line extension, however, is a bit further down the line.

A full audience

Putting new ideas on the map

Sharing the Work and Research of James Jennings
| April 4, 2015 | 6:57 pm | Events | Comments closed

Toward Racial Equality and Social Justice

This Wednesday, April 8, Tufts UEP and the Tufts Consortium on Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora is hosting a symposium in celebration of  Dr. Jennings work and research. The event will feature current and former colleagues, and a panel discussion. Register for the event here.

Details:

When: Wednesday, April 8th, 2015. 4:45pm to 7:30pm

Where: Barnum 008, 163 Packard Ave at Tufts University Medford Campus

Speakers:

  • Julia Jordan-Zachary, Associate Professor and Director of Black Studies Program at Providence College
  • Miren Uriarte, Professor of Human Services and Senior Research Associate at the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy at University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Fran Jacobs, Associate Professor at the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy at Tufts University
  • Chris Jones, Executive Director at Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative
  • Pearl Robinson, Associate Professor of Politics, Africa, and African-American Politics at Tufts University
  • Nina Gaeta Coletta, Family Center Director at East Boston High School