May project update

We began posting in our blog a monthly project update in April to give readers a better sense of what we do on a daily basis. Here’s what May has us working on:

1) The SouthCoast Urban Indicators Project (SCUIP)

  • Pages on Brownfields and walkability are now live.
  • On May 9, we’ll announce winners of our photo contest at 6p at New Bedford’s Celtic Coffee House. After the event, you’ll see many of these great images bringing our topics to life.
  • Stay tuned for new data on open space and recreation, the next page to be released.

2) Taunton HOPE VI evaluation

  • Bob Golder is wrapping up interviews with English-speaking HOPE VI residents, and UMass Dartmouth Foreign Language Department faculty member Sandra Rivera is gearing up to begin conducting a handful of interviews in Spanish.
  • We have two focus groups lined up for May: one on health and wellness needs, and the other on early childhood education and care.

3) Civic infrastructure survey project

  • We’re in the process of penning a piece on civic infrastructure for the UMass Donahue Institute’s journal, Mass Benchmarks.
  • The next brief to be released will be on nonprofits in Fall River and New Bedford.

4) Sustainable cities

  • Our final event is on Thursday, May 9. It will feature keynote speaker Catherine Tumber (author of Small, Gritty, and Green.) She will be speaking at New Bedford’s Celtic Coffee House at 6p.

5) College access

  • We’re in the midst of seeking funding to help offset the costs of conducting this project.
  • We already have three high school students lined up as summer interns, and we may even host interns through UMass Dartmouth’s Upward Bound program!

6) LifeWork Project

  • The Urban Initiative recently completed a logic model to reflect the theory of this program, which is that LifeWork will translate to improved education, employment, and financial outcomes for its participants.
  • Selecting appropriate participants is critical to the success of this program, so the UI helped project partners develop a rubric with which to score applicants across measures like education, housing, transportation, and health to ensure that these factors won’t inhibit a woman’s ability to succeed.

7) Health planning dashboard

  • The Urban Initiative and the Center for Policy Analysis have been asked by area health providers and advocacy groups to developed a web-based resource for sharing and accessing public health data for the SouthCoast. The site will likely borrow some features from SCUIP, and it will also offer an array of resources that will be aimed at helping build the capacity of SouthCoast organizations.
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