Supporting each other in new ways

Moving Through The Budget

Moving Through the Budget (MTTB) was a community-based residency that used collaborative storytelling, dance, and movement to engage Boston residents on the City Budget.

  • How can we better support mental health and wellness in the public engagement process?
  • Can a creative approach improve residents’ capacity for engagement?

Indigenous Peoples Day Executive Order

Since 2019 MONUM has participated in an interdepartmental Supporting Indigenous Efforts (SIE) working group. The SIE group seeks to address the City’s lack of formal representation or framework for directly understanding, supporting and addressing the particular concerns of our Indigenous and Native communities. In order to provide a space for common understanding of and support for city efforts with Indigenous and Native Tribes and community members, this group began to meet with the intention of strengthening the case for a clear investment and channel of support from the administration. Over time, the SIE group grew to include members from several departments including the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, Environment Department, Archaeology, the Digital Team (DoIT), Resilience and Racial Equity, and many more. After a meeting between then-Mayor Kim Janey, United American Indians of New England (UAINE), North American Indian Center of Boston (NAICOB) and members of the Massachusett tribe in the fall of 2021, the SIE group was asked to develop an executive order declaring the second Monday of October of every year to be Indigenous Peoples Day in lieu of Columbus Day. On October 6, 2021, the City of Boston issued the Executive Order, and affirmed the City’s commitment to reconciliation and support of the rights of Indigenous peoples. The Executive Order also included a list of proposals to support the City in celebrating Indigenous histories and futures.

  • building stronger relationships with its Indigenous communities, and
  • providing meaningful channels of support and representation?

City of Boston Donation Drive for Haitian Migrants

We helped launch a holiday donation drive to assist the hundreds of families who arrived in Boston from the border. In partnership with the Immigrant Family Services Institute (IFSI) and SPARK Boston, the Mayor’s civic engagement council for millennial and Gen Z residents, donation bins were installed in City Hall lobbies to collect household goods, including winter clothing, menstrual products, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and diapers.

B-Local

B-Local was an ambitious adventure leveraging CARES Act funding to invite residents to be a part of Boston’s economic recovery for small businesses. Residents downloaded the B-Local app, linked their payment method, and were automatically rewarded with “Boston Points” when they supported small businesses in the program. Boston Points could then be spent like cash for discounts at participating small businesses, who were reimbursed by the City $1 for every 1 Boston Point spent.

Youth Civic Design Fellowship

How can we help young people participate more in the work of government? Over the years we’ve asked ourselves this question, as we’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with youth from elementary and middle schools, high schools, undergrad programs, and beyond. Recent years have allowed for a new way of supporting youth. In 2020 we piloted a three-week Youth Civic Design Fellowship program through the City of Boston’s SuccessLink Program. With one participant for a short duration we tested how we might roll out a full program. In 2021 that prototype yielded more exploration: we hosted two high school youth for a paid opportunity to learn about, engage with, and practice design in a government context (virtually, in that iteration). Through group projects, learning sessions with partners, week-to-week reflections, and general exploration the two Youth Civic Design Fellows immersed themselves in the work we do. In turn, those fellows’ work has opened new opportunities for us: we’re now on Instagram and are hosting our inaugural Zero Waste Youth Ambassadors. We’re excited to host a new cohort of Fellows in person for the summer of 2022!

  • How can we make meaningful space for youth perspectives on the future of Boston?
  • How might we help young people associate exploration, experimentation and reflection with government?

BPL Wifi Hotspots

The Mayor’s Office and Boston Public Library’s HotSpot Lending Program worked to expand Wi-Fi access in Boston communities by providing 200 free Wi-Fi HotSpots to Boston community-based organizations, small businesses, and community-facing City departments that serve under-connected communities. Our partners have used these hotspots to empower youth organizers in the field, provide connection to public housing residents, connect farmers’ market and food pantry clients with easy access to SNAP and recipes online, make telehealth a reality for our most vulnerable neighbors, offer digital English classes to Afghan refugees, and much more.

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New Urban Mechanics

New Urban Mechanics

The Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics is Boston's Civic R&D Lab / Incubator.