Tagged: DSNI
UEP helps launch Greater Boston Community Land Trust Network
| May 11, 2016 | 12:34 pm | Events, student papers | Comments closed
Greater Boston Community Land Trust Launch Event, April 27, 2016

Greater Boston Community Land Trust Launch Event, April 27, 2016

UEP Lecturer Penn Loh and UEP Field Project students have been partnering to support the Greater Boston Community Land Trust Network. Loh was interviewed about community land trusts on Boston Neighborhood Network News on April 20, 2016. A report by a UEP Field Project student team was released at the Network’s launch on April 27, 2016. The report outlines the potential benefits of community land trusts in Boston and policy recommendations for the City. The Network is facilitated by the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative and includes Chinatown Community Land Trust, City Life/Vida Urbana, The Coalition for Occupied Homes in Foreclosure (COHIF), Dudley Neighbors, Inc., Mattapan United, New England United for Justice, The Urban Farming Institute, Greater Bowdoin/Geneva Neighborhood Association, Alternatives for Community and Environment and Boston Tenant Coalition.

UEP Colloquium: Community Organizing in Practice
| October 29, 2015 | 2:45 pm | Colloquium | Comments closed

UEP Welcomed two local community organizers to discuss their experiences from different perspectives.

Speaking from her experience at the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, May Louie defined community organizing as the process of gathering people together to jointly determine issues and strategies, engage in collective action to address issues, build power, and embed this power in democratic institutions. Her organizing experience began in the Asian American community, fighting the Tufts Medical Center expansion with the Free Chinatown Committee. Louie eventually joined up with the Boston Rainbow Coalition to focus on multi-ethnic, multi-issue electoral issues.

At DSNI, she emphasized, the goal was community planning and organizing, not community development. However, they did end up in the well-known position as the only community organization to win the power of eminent domain. Louie attributes this victory to a Mel King’s well-organized mayoral campaign, in which he took the majority of the vote in most Black, Latino and Asian communities. Ray Flynn, who won the overall election, wanted to be more than the mayor of just white Boston. His intention was to give the Dudley neighborhood the power to improve their own condition.

Bringing in the municipal perspective, Jen Lawrence gave an explanation of her role in community involvement as a sustainability planner for the city of Cambridge. Her previous experience had been in organizing rural communities in upstate New York before she moved to Somerville, then working at GroundWork Somerville. Her position in this initially small gardening program grew over time as GroundWork began planning for the Green Line expansion.

Eventually, Lawrence made the shift to her current position as a Cambridge sustainability planner. Within the purview of her position are long-term planning and zoning for climate change, and getting city residents to focus on this instead of pressing, short-term issues. Cambridge invited 43 organizations to meet with city departments and assess the top priorities for dealing with climate change.

Both Louie and Lawrence gave examples of angry residents coming into their respective offices complaining about new developments in their neighborhoods. The fact that there had been massive outreach campaigns and several public meetings (separately, in both Roxbury and Cambridge) meant that the resident had the opportunity to make their opinion heard ahead of time. In the Roxbury case, the resident was satisfied and realized their mistake. In Cambridge, the resident remained unsatisfied and petitioned their city official who went on to railroad the project. Lawrence’s advice for dealing with a situation like this was to encourage people to tell their city official what they do like about their neighborhood. People tend to only contact their representative when they’re angry, so officials don’t always know how many satisfied people there are out there. Louie emphasized the importance of crowdfunding in the future of community organizing as municipal budgets tend to shrink.

Come out to the Crane Room next week for a talk by Samuel Bell on climate change and community vulnerability.

UEP Colloquium: Inclusive and Equitable Economic Development and Community-Driven Planning
| December 5, 2014 | 3:20 pm | Colloquium | Comments closed

This week UEP, along with Tisch College, hosted John Barros for the Fall semester’s final colloquium. A Tufts UEP-MPP alum, Barros currently serves as Chief of Economic Development under new mayor Marty Walsh. He was interviewed by a panel of current MPP students as well as some UEP faculty on current work being done at Boston City Hall to address equitable development issues.

Barros began getting involved in development issues at an early age, and was put on the board for the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative before he was eighteen years old. Later on, Barros began working with Mayor Menino on the city’s school committee. As he stated, this fit in nicely with DSNI’s mission to view the neighborhood as a campus in order to improve school performance. Following this position and Menino’s decision not to run for reelection, Barros ran for mayor himself in 2013. Barros ran his campaign on a more inclusive economic development plan, something sorely needed for many of Boston’s residents.

Barros was eventually defeated in the campaign. New mayor Marty Walsh decided to create a new position for Barros in his cabinet, however. Goals for the position include treating the neighborhood as the unit of change, focusing on individual assets along with business development, and a new office of family empowerment. Barros also seeks to address the skills gap between Boston’s growing industry and the populations of Boston neighborhoods experiencing 20-30% unemployment.

The most important issue stressed was the need for organized development plans at the grassroots level. Government policy can provide a framework and support, but ideas and momentum must come from the community. The city does not have extra money, Barros stressed, for applicants without a solid business plan. Part of this, admittedly, is due to the difficulty of transitioning from the “Menino budget,” but there are opportunities available for solid action plans.

Barros also spoke about programs directed toward racial justice, such My Brother’s Keeper, bridging the gap between men of color and their potential achievements. The alarming statistics surrounding this issue have been discussed in a previous post about UEP Professor James Jennings on this blog. Barros also spoke about Boston’s plans to invest in worker cooperatives in the greater Boston area.

Finally, Barros suggested that students from UEP get involved in practica and paid internships through the city. We look forward to seeing more of what John Barros can do in his new position!

Weekly colloquia will continue in the Spring semester, but we at the UEP Blog will keep you updated on other talks and meetings around campus. Stay tuned!

UEP Professor Penn Loh in YES! Magazine
| November 17, 2014 | 12:57 pm | Uncategorized | Comments closed

Land, Co-ops, Compost: A Local Food Economy Emerges in Boston’s Poorest Neighborhoods

In a new article for YES! Magazine, UEP Professor Penn Loh writes about the emergence of a local food economy in the Roxbury and Dorchester neighborhoods of Boston.

Glynn Lloyd has run Fresh City Food in Roxbury since 1994, serving locally sourced food. Finding good, local food hard to come by, he founded City Growers in 2009. City Growers has joined a network of urban food enterprises in Roxbury and Dorchester. The network includes community land trusts for growers, locally sourced kitchens and retailers, to new food waste and compost processing co-ops.

After decades of disinvestment and redlining, it is inspiring to see groups like the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative bringing together residents to decide fate of their community. DSNI has helped to provide affordable homes, common areas and gardens, as well as the neighborhood’s community greenhouse.

Finding difficulty in locating areas available for further commercial growing, Lloyd founded the Urban Farming Institute to advocate for zoning reform.

More examples of Boston’s emerging local food economy can be found in Loh’s article. New businesses, restaurants, and food co-ops continue to open, but work cannot stop here. There is still much more that can be done to create sustainable, healthy food systems in historically disinvested communities.