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BARI advances civically-engaged research that leverages data to pursue social, economic, and environmental justice in partnership with the communities of Greater Boston.

The Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI) advances civically-engaged research that leverages data to pursue social, economic, and environmental justice in partnership with the communities of Greater Boston.

Collaborations with local public officials, community leaders, foundations, and private corporations are fundamental to realizing our collective goals. Together we surface community priorities, co-design research activities, and jointly translate results into action. Throughout, we embrace the value of all forms of data, from qualitative interviews to traditional quantitative techniques to emergent resources, including administrative records, internet-generated content, and environmental sensors. We also invest in efforts that foster and facilitate the work of those with allied missions, both within and beyond academia.

We focus on four major areas of activity, guided and informed by a cross-sector Advisory Council of local leaders. Though this work centers on our home of greater Boston, our projects and programming are designed to offer insights and models for communities around the world.

  1. Research-policy partnerships that take a cross-disciplinary, data-driven approach to addressing the opportunities and challenges facing the communities of greater Boston.
  2. The Boston Data Portal and associated technologies,which make novel data sources accessible for research, policy, and practice for a wide range of levels of data literacy.
  3. Educational programming bringing the tools and skills for working with community-centered data to multiple audiences, from community members to high school classrooms to university students in both data science and non-data science programs.
  4. Convening and supporting a thriving civic data community in greater Boston through an annual conference, seed grants for graduate student research, and workshops developing “civic research agendas.”