Category Archives: Lawrence, Massachusetts

Ash Center’s 10th Anniversary Series Provides Direction for the Next Ten Years

200x200logoFBshareIn May, the Ash Center concluded its Challenges to Democracy public dialogue series with presentations by the 2015 Innovations in American Government Award finalists. Local government officials, students, and scholars gathered with the Innovation Award finalists for a nuts and bolts conversation on fostering innovation in government. This model of conversation—one that brings together people and ideas unlikely to otherwise connect, in an environment that encourages candid conversation on important yet difficult issues, with an emphasis on finding a way forward—was a true reflection of the Challenges to Democracy series. This post explores some of the series’ highlights and how it will carry forth in the Ash Center’s upcoming work. Read more about all events in the series including associated multimedia such as podcasts, media coverage, photos, and video recordings.
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Filed under #Hack4Congress, All Checks, No Balance, All the King's Men, All The Way, Cities, Dollarocracy, Expansion of Presidential Power, Future of Social Movements, Heart of Robin Hood, Immigration & Citizenship, Inequality vs Democracy, Innovation, Launch Event with On Point, Lawrence, Massachusetts, Nation of Devils, Participation, Technology, Voting Rights

Toward More Effective and More Responsive City Governance

cities narrowThis post highlights new research from Ash Center faculty on important strategies for making cities more effective and responsive. As part of our Challenges to Democracy public dialogue series, one of the themes we are examining is how and why U.S. cities are succeeding or failing in realizing their democratic potential. Cities generate many of the key public policies that play a role in producing and reducing social exclusion and economic disparity. Yet as enduring patterns of segregation and social and economic inequality in the United States attest, all too often cities reveal our inability to use the democratic process to affirm and bridge differences for the common good. Is there a role for today’s most popular management strategies, from data analytics to PerformanceStat programs to innovation teams, in making city government not only more functional and efficient but also more participatory and responsive?
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Filed under Cities, Innovation, Lawrence, Massachusetts, Participation, Technology

My Challenges: Raisa Carrasco Velez, Harvard Kennedy School Alumna and Ash Center Fellow

raisa2Asked to diagnose the health of American democracy, Raisa Carrasco Velez highlights the connection between inequality, education, opportunity and engagement in under-represented communities. Continue reading

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Filed under Cities, In the News, Lawrence, Massachusetts, My Challenges, Representation

Understanding How Communities Respond to Immigration

This spring, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation co-hosted a town hall discussion on integrating immigrant communities in Lawrence, Massachusetts as part of its Challenges to Democracy Series. The series is exploring the challenges posed by immigration and how communities are working to find solutions to such. Part of this broader discussion about immigration and democracy comes from the perspective of social scientists, while some of it comes from having conversations similar to the Lawrence meeting to learn about the challenges and opportunities posed by changing populations.

Below is an account of the key themes and ideas from the discussion, which was moderated by WBUR journalist Asma Khalid and featured four Lawrence residents active on the issue. Long-time advocate for Lawrence and community development Bill Traynor and Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera welcomed the audience of almost 200 people, with Professor Archon Fung providing concluding remarks. Continue reading

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Filed under Cities, Immigration & Citizenship, In the News, Lawrence, Massachusetts, Participation

Integrating Immigrant Communities: March 31 Panel Discussion in Lawrence, Mass

On March 31, the Ash Center is co-hosting a panel discussion addressing the topic of immigration from a local perspective. Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera will begin the discussion moderated by WBUR’s Asma Khalid.


By Maisie O’Brien

As Washington’s continued partisan gridlock has cast great doubt on the likelihood of passing comprehensive immigration reform in the near term, attention is turning to local initiatives – particularly as cities and states seek innovative ways to integrate immigrant communities into political and civic life. Continue reading

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Filed under Cities, Immigration & Citizenship, Lawrence, Massachusetts, Participation, Representation