MAPC’s Best of 2012

As we say goodbye to 2012 (and get ready to celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2013), we’re reflecting on some of our greatest accomplishments and milestones from the past year. Here’s a few of my favorites:

1. Being awarded a five-year $1.6 million Community Transformation Grant from the CDC, in partnership with Mass. Department of Public Health. This grant helped us to grow our public health team at MAPC, and helped advance work like our Photovoice project with youth in Somerville, Everett, and Cambridge; and the opening up of aqueduct trails to the public for walking and biking.

The growth of our public health planning capacity also helped MAPC achieve #2 on this list…

2. Adding Health Impact Assessments (HIA’s) to our repertoire. HIA’s examine the public health impacts of a project or policy before it is undertaken, and help quantify those effects so that they can be included in the discussion phase of a project. In 2012, MAPC conducted an HIA of proposed MBTA fare increases and service cuts; the possible extension of a bike/ped trial in Fall River; and the potential effects of a speed limit reduction bill that has been introduced to the MA legislature.

3. Hubway Data Visualization Challenge. MAPC teamed up with Hubway to release data on half a million Hubway rides, and encouraged participants to come up with original visualizations of these data sets. The creativity and enthusiasm that poured in for this project was astounding. We received submissions from around the globe, and the contest landed on Atlantic Cities list of the Best Open Data Releases of 2012.

4. Promoting transportation finance reform.

Transportation pledge sign with signatures

This sign (on the right) traveled with MAPC staff to rallies, summits, speeches, and public events, and elected officials and concerned citizens put their signatures on it to show their support for investing in a transportation system that can support economic development and quality of life in Massachusetts. Our “Fix the T” calculator allowed people to mix and match different components of the MBTA budget and gave options for sharing their ideas with legislators; public meetings with MassDOT gave people a place to have their voices heard and rally support for reform.

5. Using online games to reach new audiences. MAPC has helped pioneer the use of Community PlanIt, an online game that lets people get involved with planning for the future of their city and town. In 2010, we used this tool as part of our Participatory Chinatown project in Boston. In 2012, we expanded its use to reach community members in NoQuWo (North quincy-Wollaston) and the Point neighborhood in Salem.


This is a small sampling of MAPC’s great work  in 2012– and a preview for all of the new great projects that you can expect from us in 2013!

Happy New Year!