MIT at Lawrence

MIT@Lawrence is a partnership between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), several Lawrence, Massachusetts-based community organizations, and the City of Lawrence aimed at facilitating affordable housing development, building community assets, and improving youth pathways to advancement. It is funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Pioneered by the MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP), MIT@Lawrence supports service learning coursework with clients in Lawrence, internships and fellowships connecting MIT students with Lawrence organizations, and community-university collaboration for action-oriented urban scholarship and community improvement.

Overview

Mission

MIT@Lawrence is a long-term commitment to support dynamic and mutually beneficial relationships between faculty, students, and staff at MIT and civic leaders, residents, and community-based organizations in Lawrence. The MIT@Lawrence commitment includes service learning, technical assistance, and community-based service projects in three program areas: affordable housing, community asset-building, and youth pathways to career and education. These areas promise opportunities for action-oriented scholarship through university-community engagement for the purpose of contributing to an equitable and sustainable future in the City of Lawrence.

Vision

History

Since 2002, MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) has offered a service-learning course in partnership with community organizations, residents, and youth in Lawrence. This service-learning course expanded from a 7-week module to a semester-long core practicum course in 2004. In 2005, MIT and its community partners secured financial and in-kind commitments from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to build on these relationships and support the creation of additional connections between MIT and Lawrence. With this funding, MIT@Lawrence has supported positions for MIT students to work with community-based organizations in Lawrence around the three core areas of affordable housing development, community asset building, and youth pathways to advancement. A growing network of MIT alumni living and working in Lawrence provides additional community support for the project.

Initiatives

Community asset building

MIT@Lawrence promotes approaches to collective and individual wealth building strategies. Current efforts include the expansion of Individual Development Account (IDA) programs, increased awareness of predatory lending, and research on collective economic structures in collaboration with MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, the MIT Sloan School of Management, and Lawrence CommunityWorks.

Affordable housing development

MIT@Lawrence advocates for sustainable housing development that is affordable, equitable, and transportation-oriented by applying regional, neighborhood, and environmental planning principles. Partners include MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT’s Center for Real Estate, Lawrence’s Departments of Planning and Development and Community Development, Lawrence CommunityWorks, Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity, Bread and Roses Housing, Inc., and Housing Options for Massachusetts Elders. Current efforts focus on the redevelopment of vacant properties in Lawrence.

Youth Pathways

MIT@Lawrence fosters educational achievement, career opportunities, and community development in youth through peer-to-peer learning, creative collaboration, and democratic participation. MIT students, in collaboration with Lawrence-based organizations, are currently pursuing environmental education curriculum development and the use of new technologies to foster connections between youth. Partners include MIT’s Media Lab, MIT’s Public Service Center, Lawrence CommunityWorks, Groundwork Lawrence and the Higher Education Resource Center.

External links

* [http://www.mitatlawrence.net Project homepage]
* [http://www.lawrencecommunityworks.com Lawrence CommunityWorks]
* [http://www.ci.lawrence.ma.us City of Lawrence]
* [http://www.urbanredevelopment.net Lorlene Hoyt, Project Director]

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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