For those who may not be familiar, Boston Area Research Initiative (also known as BARI), is an inter-university research center between Harvard and Northeastern that pursues urban research focusing on the use of big data. We focus on three main areas of activity, establishing research-policy partnerships to address urban challenges facing Boston; building the Boston Data Portal, an online resource for downloading and mapping data that can be used by users of different experience levels; and convening the civic data ecosystem in Boston through research seed grants, and online network, and events.
What is the civic data ecosystem, you ask? When we got started a few years ago, we found something surprising–so many of us, across sectors, were doing data-driven work, but with few mechanisms in place to bring us together. Work was being done in silos, without much thought to cross-sector partnerships. BARI saw an opportunity to create a community of folks who were using new sources of information to help address problems in Boston, and we affectionately referred to this cohort as the civic data ecosystem.
Through events big and small, we try to break down the silos keeping our work separate from our peers, and the annual spring conference is one such event.
It’s a chance for the thinkers and doers across the Boston area to come together and hear about all the great data-driven work that’s being done to improve the lives of our fellow Bostonians.
For the second year in a row, Boston Area Research Initiative will be hosting our data-driven conference, Confronting Inequality and Economic Mobility: Data-Driven Lessons From Boston, For Boston, celebrating the multidisciplinary work occurring in the civic data ecosystem. The conference brings together members of the public, private, non-profit, industry and academic sectors to learn from each other and build connections that move this work forward.
That’s where you come in. We structure the conference like a society meeting, putting out an open call for proposals that in turn give the conference its shape. You don’t have to have a PhD to submit your work or be the CEO at your company. We encourage proposals from representatives of all disciplines and domains, provided the proposal highlights the use of digital data or technology to better understand or address issues of inequality and economic mobility in Boston and/or the greater Boston region.
Given the pervasive nature of inequality and the many aspects of mobility, we are encouraging talks covering a wide range of topics, including but certainly not limited to: housing; education; health; climate and environmental justice; job and labor opportunities; crime and criminal justice; and access to resources, amenities, and services.
So, a lot to work with, and we want to hear from you! Tell us about the project you’re running, the program you manage, the research you’re doing, the policies you’re fighting for.
Confronting Inequality and Economic Mobility: Data-Driven Lessons From Boston, For Boston, will take place on April 27th, 2018, at Boston University.
If you have any questions about the conference or the application process, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].
Samantha (Sam) joined BARI as the Program Coordinator in 2016, managing BARI’s online network, coordinating events, and working with multidisciplinary partners across Boston. She is a double graduate of Northeastern University, having received her Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Policy and her Bachelors in International Affairs. A Chicago native, Sam has always been interested in cities and urban dynamics. She is inspired by the stories data can tell and strives to find creative solutions to urban problems.