Doing Engagement from Home A Toolbox for Municipal Staff

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community Engagement Department of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) conducted extensive research on digital engagement tools and methods. This document includes many tools that municipal staff can use to engage the public remotely. This document is intended as a resource and does not constitute endorsement of any of these tools. MAPC does not use every tool in this list— for questions about individual tools, reach out to the tool’s Help or Support staff.

Hybrid Engagement Hub: Navigating Together

MAPC Community Engagement Division
This project hub is designed to be a central source of information to support you as you develop your approach to hybrid meetings, investigate tools, and design public participation at the local level.

Worforce Training Fund Express Program - Passive House and LEED certifications

Any company is eligible for $30,000 of training per year through this grant application. There are many certification for building sustainability measures.

Commonwealth Workforce Training Fund Express Program

Workforce Training Fund
50 courses approved to provide PHIUS Certified Passive House Consultant training.

Highlights from Cool, Climate-safe Cities: New Solutions & Research

BU Institute for Sustainable Energy
Webinar Recording for Event

Impact of Climate Change on Health

National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation
Climate change is the single biggest health threat facing humanity and it is disproportionately felt by the most vulnerable and disadvantaged according to a recent World Health Organization (WHO) special report. This infographic explains links between climate change and health.

Organizing and Engagement Core Skills Toolkit

Mel King Institute, Rising Sun Consulting
This toolkit was designed to support the professional growth of community organizers and community engagement staff. The toolkit was developed by and for organizers! Front line organizers helped identify the 6 competency areas and piloted the tools, offering feedback on content and format.

Creativity and Community Action

David M. Greenberg, LISC
In a new essay and workbook from David M. Greenberg, LISC's vice president for Knowledge Management and Strategy, practitioners are posed with two parallel questions: how can community development and activism enhance artistic and cultural work? And how can cultural practice community development and activism? Using paintings, poetry, and the work of artist-activists in Logan Square, Chicago, as “cases,” the resource helps enhance the reach, ambition, and impact of collaborations between artists and community organizations.

Climate Resilient Land Use Strategies

Metropolitan Area Planning Council
Land use regulations can be a powerful tool to provide climate resilience. From floodplain and wetlands restrictions, to tree protection and water conservation, to design standards and zoning, communities are using their regulatory authority to address the growing impacts of rainstorms, sea level rise, heat, and drought.

YW Boston’s 2021 Small Biz Map

YW Boston
Support businesses run by women and people of color in Greater Boston

Existing Buildings and Climate Change Resources

Boston Society for Architecture
We cannot meet our future goals without utilizing our greatest built and cultural assets: existing buildings. Below are some resources to support the industry as we forge ahead.

State Support for Local School Construction: Leveraging Equity and Diversity

Lauren Mittman, Nikhil De, and Philip Tegeler
Historically, state support for suburban school construction facilitated white flight and metropolitan segregation. The least we can do today is think more carefully about the impacts of future school construction funding. PRRAC has prepared a policy brief on this question, based on a state-by-state survey of current practices.

Best Practices for RAD "Choice-Mobility" Implementation

Poverty & Race Research Action Council
The Rental Assistance Demonstration has become the most significant public housing redevelopment program in the U.S., bringing new funds to support aging properties around the country. One essential element of the program is that, after conversion, all tenants have a right to request a portable Housing Choice Voucher, and move to a community of their choice (thus opening up their apartment to another eligible family on the waiting list). Few housing authorities have worked out plans for implementation of this Choice-Mobility feature of the program, so we have developed a guidance document for PHAs and advocates, based on extensive policy research and interviews.

Fifty Years Of “The People v. HUD”

Poverty & Race research Action Council (PRRAC)
HUD has benefited enormously from strong civil rights advocacy, and many of HUD’s most important regulatory guidelines have emerged from this advocacy. We offer this selected timeline as a tribute to this ongoing history and, we hope, an inspiration to a new generation of civil rights and tenant activists.

Arts & Planning Toolkit

The Arts and Planning Toolkit has been given a reboot to become better aligned with the needs of municipal planners who are doing arts and culture-related work. Each page now follows a consistent outline of tools, resources, and examples to show how ideas may be put into action.

Opportunity360 Community Dashboard

Opportunity360 Community Dashboards provide the information necessary to determine where action is most needed and where established programs and policies have been most successful in any neighborhood in the country. These dashboards now allow data comparison for up to three census tracts, anywhere in the US. In the free Opportunity360 Community Dashboards, you will find over 150 indicators from 27 sources.

Housing Matters

Urban Institute
Housing Matters is an online resource for the most rigorous research and practical information on how a quality, stable, affordable home in a vibrant community contributes to individual and community success.

Radical Imagination

Angela Glover Blackwell; Powered by PolicyLink
To imagine radically, means to think big, demand better, and redefine the terms of the struggle; the Radical Imagination podcast delivers all that. The debut season confronts the challenging issues facing our nation, including immigration, the need for big new economic ideas, the impact of climate change, revolutionary approaches to community safety and justice, and more.

The Move

Ceasar McDowell, Founder; Ayushi Roy, Podcast co-host; Misael Galdamez, Website Author; Julia Curbera, Website Author
The Move is a movement to rebuild our public’s muscle for democracy. This movement aims to bring together people of all backgrounds who are seeking to facilitate real civic engagement in today’s democracies. The Move rebuilds our public muscle in three ways: We will partner in the design and implementation of at least one civic engagement project each year. We will provide a collaborative learning and knowledge exchange platform on and it’s adjacent social media channels for cities, institutions, and community organizations. We will advance learning, experimentation, and innovation in civic design using eight design principles.

Massachusetts Defense For Eviction (MADE): Self-Guided Eviction Help

Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS)
This completely free guided interview is for Massachusetts tenants who are being evicted. It is estimated to take between 25 and 90 minutes for a typical tenant to use on their own. It will help you make sure that you respond to your landlord's eviction case correctly.

Boston Neighborhood Change Interactive Map

Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University
A new interactive mapping tool showing the dramatic demographic, social, and economic changes that have occurred in Greater Boston since 1990. The tool includes data from the 1990 and 2000 decennial censuses and from the American Community Survey (ACS) 5-Year Estimates for 2010 and 2016.

Prosperity Now Scorecard

Prosperity Now Scorecard
A comprehensive resource for data on household financial health, racial economic inequality and policy recommendations to help put everyone in our country on a path to prosperity.

The National Equity Research Database, Boston Edition

Brandeis Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy
This is a database of 286 socio-economic indicators on a wide range of subjects, including demography, education, employment, health, housing, earnings and ancestry covering the Boston metropolitan area.

Building Blocks: Connecting People, Places and Policies

Enterprise Community Partners
A podcast for thought-provoking conversations about the current issues, trends, ideas and big questions facing the affordable housing and community development field in the United States.

MASSCAP Trainings: Recorded Webinars

This resource contains all the past recorded webinars from MASSCAP (Understanding Immigrant Rights, Community Action Impact, Succession Planning, and More!)

Operationalizing Racial Equity & Inclusion at Living Cities: Tools for Getting Started and Keeping At It

Living Cities
These are some of the resources and contacts LC has shared with organizations who are looking to embed racial equity and inclusion into their work.

Opportunity Zone Eligibility Tool

The Opportunity360 team created the tool below to help states and others interested in opportunity zone eligibility to determine which tracts in their state or region are eligible and how eligible tracts relate to other federal programs and designations.

Advancements in measuring bicycle and pedestrian accessibility

State Smart Transportation Initiative
Jennifer Boldry from People For Bikes and Spencer Gardner from Toole Design Group discussed their new open source Bike Network Accessibility tool, and Chris McCahill from SSTI showed how pedestrian accessibility measures have been applied in Sacramento, Calif., Madison, Wisc., and Virginia.

Racial Identity Caucusing: A Strategy for Building Anti-Racist Collectives

This toolkit describes methods for anti-racism work and the value of caucusing

Mapped: How the US Generates Electricity

Carbon Brief has plotted the nation’s power stations in an interactive map to show how and where the US generates electricity.

Understanding Systemic Racism

Race Forward
"What Is Systemic Racism?" is an 8-part video series that shows how racism shows up in our lives across institutions and society: Wealth Gap, Employment, Housing Discrimination, Government Surveillance, Incarceration, Drug Arrests, Immigration Arrests, Infant Mortality

Rejecting Bigotry, Demanding Action

Opportunity Agenda
Together with UnidosUS, The Opportunity Agenda completed public opinion and messaging research with this goal in mind: to tell a story of American diversity that reflects our values and our aspirations as a country stronger because of our myriad backgrounds, ethnicities, races, experiences – because of the parts of us that may make us different, but ultimately also make us stronger. This research provides guidance for those using their platforms to reject bigotry while demand action.

Greening Our Grid

“Greening our Grid” is a fact sheet and a case study detailing MAPC’s new strategy to use municipal aggregation to help build new renewable energy in New England

Perfect Fit Parking

Parking is a point of contention in communities across Metro Boston, yet many deliberations about the topic occur in the absence of hard data about how much parking we have, and how much we need. The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) has begun a multi-phase initiative to develop the data and tools that communities need to establish informed, sustainable, and economical parking policies.

Rolling Back Inclusion

The Democracy Collaborative
In order to help communities across the country—both rural and urban—speak up in a moment in which the administration has made clear its intentions to scale back or dismantle these key federal frameworks, we will be tracking the new federal attacks on inclusive community development here, along with state-level measures enabled and encouraged by the new federal context.

All America Conversations Toolkit

National Civic League
All-America Conversations are designed to help cities and other groups understand residents’ aspirations for the community, the divisions facing the community and, most importantly, the small, specific actions that give people a sense of confidence that we can work across dividing lines.

Racial Wealth Audit

The Institute on Assets and Social Policy; Demos
This interactive online tool uses real-world examples to help policymakers and advocates explore and understand the causes and effects of the racial wealth gap.

MAPC Local Access Score

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC)'s active transportation network utility score for each segment of roadway indicates how useful that street segment is for connecting residents with schools, shops, restaurants, parks, and transit stations.

Glossary for Senior-Related Housing and Healthcare Terms in Massachusetts

The Community Builders, Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, and LeadingAge MA
This glossary is intended to provide a primer on housing and healthcare terms, so that professionals in both housing and healthcare can work collaboratively to ensure that there is sufficient and high-quality housing and services for older adults.

Health Disadvantage Index Tool

Public Health Institute
Mapping tool allows user to explore health disparities in a region