BAC’s Community Practice Earns BSA Foundation Grant

Supports Applied Learning & Developing Strategies to Engage Youth in Imagine Boston 2030

Imagine Boston youth brainstorm. Photo by Christian Borger

Imagine Boston youth brainstorm. Photo by Christian Borger

The Boston Architectural College is excited to announce the Practice Department is the recipient of a grant from the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) Foundation. The grant will support Community Practice, a two-semester foundation course for all BAC students, both undergraduate and graduate, that refines and tests the necessary skills of communication and collaboration in the context of community engagement. Capitalizing on the momentum of the Imagine Boston 2030 planning process, students in Community Practice will develop and create intensive strategies for engaging Boston youth in conversations about the future of their city.

Under Mayor Marty Walsh's leadership, the Imagine Boston 2030 initiative aims to create the first citywide plan in 50 years. The suggestions and thoughts gathered throughout the Imagine Boston 2030 campaign will guide approaches to improving an evolving city. As word about Imagine Boston 2030 spreads, the city has put an emphasis on involving many different audiences in the planning process, hearing from all who "live, work, and play" here.

At the BAC, students will focus on successfully engaging the youth population, developing and testing creative strategies to engage this particular group in this planning process. The goals of the project include communicating the complexities of the city-wide planning process to Boston area youth unfamiliar with design, empowering youth to participate in the conversations surrounding the planning process, and developing best practices that solicit input and highlight the aspirations and priorities of Boston's youth population.

"We are thrilled to have the BSA Foundation's support as our students not only facilitate conversations amongst Boston's leaders and young residents, but also develop replicable tools for future engagement," said Ben Peterson, director of Practice instruction at the BAC. "It is an opportunity for the students in our Community Practice course to strengthen the BAC's commitment to its namesake city, and the projects will affirm the power and potential of design as an act of citizenship."

Each semester, there will be 10 student teams working on the project, which will ultimately be collected and curated to share with neighborhood organizations, city agencies, and affiliated designers.

Thank you Ben Peterson for contributing to this article.