CoDesign Field Lab: Program Evaluation for Change Leadership

CoDesign Field Lab is a project-based research seminar (4 units) in which GSD students will work directly with Boston-based community, civic, and philanthropic organizations; planners; and designers affiliated with the Place Leadership Network (PLN) to support public realm strategies. A joint initiative of The Boston Foundation (TBF) and GSD’s CoDesign, the PLN comprises 8 teams including main streets, parks conservancies, business improvement districts, and CDCs. While these place leaders operate at varying scales, are located in different geographies, and serve diverse constituents, they share commitments to managing and stewarding public spaces in Greater Boston.

The research seminar will undertake a semester-long project of program evaluation as a means for compelling change at field and organizational levels. This will require critical reading and adaptations of relevant literature; collecting, analyzing, and visualizing data; strategic planning and implementation of program evaluation with partner organizations and consultants; and distilling lessons for others using arts and cultural programming to improve the public realm. The class will additionally discuss and reflect on challenges and strategies to promote inclusive, democratic, and vibrant public spaces within an urban and regional context of racialized, classed, and gendered im/mobility and access—as they concern the Place Leadership Network and The Boston Foundation and more generally speaking.

Learning outcomes include: (1) Critically analyzing and informing Boston-area public realm interventions by place-based partners; (2) Conducting national field scan of place-based funding programs;  (3) Co-creating program evaluation with partner organizations; and (4) Understanding possibilities and limits of program evaluations to compel change. Course enrollment will be limited to 12 students. Course qualifications are as follows (students must meet at least two): experience with qualitative and/or quantitative research, ability to work effectively as part of a collaborative team, strong technical writing and verbal skills, ability to prepare maps/graphics, and/or experience with program evaluation.

Note: 

Course enrollment is limited to twelve students, all of whom must meet at least two of the following qualifications: experience with qualitative and/or quantitative research, ability to work effectively as part of a collaborative team, strong technical writing and verbal skills, ability to prepare maps/graphics, and/or experience with program evaluation. 

Up to four students are eligible for priority enrollment. Those who are interested in this option should email the instructor, Lily Song (lsong@gsd.harvard.edu), a CV and brief statement of interest (highlighting relevant experience, skills, goals) by Wednesday, January 15, 2020. Priority enrollment students will be notified of selection on Friday, January 17th, and will need to select the course first in the limited enrollment lottery in order for their enrollment to be prioritized. 

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