The Boston Area Research Initiative and the Boston Indicators are proud to announce the recipients of research seed grants for the Fall 2017 semester. We are pleased to note that the recipients hail from three Boston area universities and their work features distinct methodologies, from evaluating mapping as a decision making support system to using ethnographic methods to construct a “good neighbor policy.”
Understanding How City-Level Processes Shape Economic and Social Mobility Outcomes
Alexis Mann, PhD candidate at Brandeis in the joint Social Policy and Sociology program, is working with the City of Boston to understand how researchers and policymakers can best understand social mobility at a local level. She will be examining the literature and methods used to study this subject in order to advance a clearer understanding of the processes around social mobility, and to propose the structure of an Economic Mobility Dataset that could serve such efforts moving forward. She will also generate questionnaire items pertaining to social mobility for the soon-to-be-implemented BEACON survey. In sum, Ms. Mann’s project will lay the groundwork for valuable resources for the study of social mobility in Boston.
Managing Methadone Mile: Good Neighbor Policy in Boston’s Epicenter for Homeless and Addiction Services
Adam Pittman, a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at UMass Boston, is working in partnership with the Worcester Square Neighborhood Association and South End Working Group on Homelessness and Addiction to implement a Good Neighbor policy that aims to build alliances among residents and service providers to curb crime and disorder stemming from “Methadone Mile.” Through interviews and observation, Pittman will consider how crime, disorder, and stakeholder conflict weakens a neighborhood’s crime-controlling efforts, particularly in the case of Worcester Square in the South End neighborhood of Boston.
Mapping under Uncertainty: Spatial Politics, Urban Development, and the Future of Coastal Flood Risk
Mike Wilson, PhD candidate in Urban Planning from MIT, seeks to create tools that can guide local development in flood risk areas, and evaluate mapping as a potential decision support system to help planners manage the systemic risks of building code, land use zoning, and infrastructure investment. Wilson will analyze a novel survey dataset from the Boston Planning and Development Agency’s (BPDA) Article 37 Climate Change Preparedness Resiliency Checklist to understand developer characteristics, site-specific conditions, and the state of scientific knowledge for recent large-scale new construction projects.