Mayor Menino Makes the City A Classroom
Strengthening information sharing and collaboration between City departments and local academic institutions
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For Immediate Release
November 09, 2012
Released By:
Mayor's Office
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office

Mayor Thomas M. Menino today announced city officials hosted “Teaching Boston,” a gathering of local college and university faculty members who teach Boston-focused courses. The event was organized by the recently launched Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI), led by the City of Boston and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, which seeks to forge mutually beneficial relationships among the region's scholars, policymakers, practitioners, and civic leaders.

“Boston is a laboratory for students and academics,” Mayor Menino said. “The City provides an ideal location for field work on urban life issues. By connecting with area academic institutions we can take the good ideas being developed in the classroom and put them to good use in the city.”

“With its long history, Boston offers a unique opportunity to understand the past, present, and future of cities and the challenges they face,” said Radcliffe Institute Dean Lizabeth Cohen, who is a 20th century urban historian at Harvard. “We are very grateful to our partner in this project, the City of Boston, for giving students, faculty, and other researchers remarkable access to data that will improve teaching about urban life as well as the livability of cities for their citizens.”

About the Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI):

  • BARI is a partnership between city departments and agencies, including the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), New Urban Mechanics, the Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) and local colleges and universities
  • BARI seeks to spur original urban research on the cutting edge of social science and public policy, and forge mutually beneficial relationships among the region's scholars, policymakers, practitioners and civic leaders. 

About the “Teaching Boston” Event:

  • More than 35 graduate students and senior staff from Boston University, Brandeis University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Simmons College, Tufts University, and University of Massachusetts Boston attended.
  • Participating schools offer Boston-focused courses in fields including architecture, education, public management, political science, public health, sociology, and urban planning.
  • Workshop included an overview of research tools, including the BRA’s MyNeighborhood Census Viewer (; mapping tools, data, and other resources available from the new BARI website (, and information available from MetroBoston DataCommon  (, an online tool launched by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council and the Boston Indicators project at the Boston Foundation.


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