Boston Area Research Initiative: Integrating Data and Research with Community with Kimberly Lucas and Daniel T. O’Brien

Wednesday May 24th at 12pm ET

ProSocial Research

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Daniel T. O’Brien
Free Research Seminar and Q&A


In theory, the “age of smart cities” is in full swing, but it is unclear that cutting-edge advances in data and technology are being leveraged to truly support and benefit urban communities. The Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI) at Northeastern University has sought to address this shortcoming in collaboration with the communities of greater Boston, thereby developing a model for other cities and communities around the world. This talk will describe multiple ways that BARI works with public and non-profit partners to foster a culture of data use for pursuing community priorities, including: (1) an action research project using sensor systems to pursue environmental justice; (2) public trainings in the use of BARI’s Boston Data Portal; (3) workshops on civic research agendas with diverse stakeholders; and (4) a unique annual conference convening the civic research community of a single metropolitan region.

About the Speakers:

Dr. Kimberly D. Lucas is an academic-practitioner who is committed to community-driven civic research, innovation in city-university collaborations, and leveraging our collective expertise for the social good. Kim previously served as Interim Executive Director at Metrolab Network and Director of Civic Research for the City of Boston. Kim’s research focuses on early childhood policy and the child care market, and their practical experience includes over a decade of innovation in community-engaged research.

Dr. Daniel T. O’Brien is a leader in the field of “urban informatics”, which uses data and technology to better understand and serve local communities. His research focuses on neighborhoods—how they feel, how they work, and how they are (and are not) served by citywide programs and policies—with an emphasis on equity. This mission has allowed him to study crime, education, transportation, climate resilience, public health, public infrastructure, and more. His book The Urban Commons (Harvard University Press; 2018) received the American Political Science Associations Best Book Award for Local and Urban Politics, and his recent textbook, Urban Informatics (Chapman Hall / CRC Press; 2022), is freely available online (