Community Innovators Lab
"The Community Innovators Lab (CoLab) is a center for research, teaching, and practice within the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP). CoLab supports the development and use of knowledge from excluded communities to deepen civic engagement, improve community practice, inform policy, mobilize community assets, and generate shared wealth. We believe that community knowledge can drive powerful innovation and can help make markets an arena for supporting social justice. CoLab facilitates the interchange of knowledge and resources between MIT and community organizations. We engage students to be practitioners of this approach to community change and sustainability.
Annual Report 2009-2010
"This first MIT Community Innovators Lab (CoLab) Annual Report covers activities from the spring of 2009 through the spring of 2010, a tremendously exciting time for CoLab. During this period, we launched innovative projects exploring the intersection of urban climate adaptation, community participation and shared wealth creation in the US and the Global South.
• CoLab initiated Leveraging the Stimulus, a partnership with leading community organizing groups and students. Using participatory planning,CoLab supported partners’ efforts to make stimulus-funded programs more inclusive of low-income communities. With help from CoLab, two of our community partners won Department of Energy competitive grants;
• The Cartagena Practicum, a study of food system logistics in an informal urban market, led by CoLab staffer and Lecturer, Martha Bonilla, became the highest rated practicum in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning’s history;
• The Grease Project, led by CoLab Research Fellow Libby McDonald, won an MIT IDEAS competition award;
• CoLab launched its community media capacity. Our blog, CoLab Radio (http://colabradio.mit.edu/), became an open platform for students, partners,staff, and affiliates to share ideas about practice, theory, people and places.CoLab’s video collection on our dedicated MIT TechTV(http://techtv.mit.edu/collections/colab), channel garnered approximately 500,000 views;
• Eleven community leaders working at the cutting edge of urban sustainability and shared wealth creation joined CoLab’s Mel King Community Fellows Program and came to MIT for quarterly meetings with students, faculty, and other MIT experts to explore and share lessons about their work;
• Eight members of MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning faculty formed the CoLab Faculty Council to provide high level strategic guidance and technical expertise to CoLab on initiatives and projects;
• Six MCP students participated in the first CoLaborative Thesis Project led by CoLab Faculty Council member, Professor Lorlene Hoyt, assisted by CoLab staffer, Amy Stitely. Their work will be distributed in a volume in the Fall of 2012;
• Several faculty, including the Department of Urban Studies and Planning’s Associate Professor, Phil Thompson, MIT Sloan’s Professor Thomas Kochan,along with CoLab, participated in the founding of the Emerald CitiesCollaborative, an unprecedented partnership between the largest community development, workforce development, and labor organizations in the U.S. to promote high quality job creation through the stimulus in ten target cities.
Details on these projects and others are included in the following pages. We are grateful to have the opportunity to share this report of the 2009-2010 academic year and look forward to continue working with all of our partners during the year(and years) ahead."
What CoLab is up to at the moment can be found at CoLab Radio blog where people who are committed to improving cities and communities express their ideas and share their projects.
For more information, visit our website at: http://web.mit.edu/colab/.
report: Network Power: Building Collaborative Partnerships for Energy Efficiency and Equity