Barr Foundation Knowledge Center

This collection includes publications and resources from our partners and in our program areas, both current and legacy. These resources are completely free to access and download. Most of these works were funded by the Barr Foundation. We may occasionally feature items relevant to our program areas which were not funded by Barr. Please be aware that views expressed are not necessarily those of the Barr Foundation. We encourage you to search our collection and suggest potential content to include (use "Suggest an Addition"). For questions or assistance, please contact
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Designing Shelters for Dignity: Energy Shift Boston Rentify Chinatown

September 1, 2020

Resilient communities are strong communities. Unfortunately, some communities - especially those that are primarily people of color or historically low-income - are disproportionately impacted by environmental, economic, and social challenges. And yet, when we design the built environment to address these challenges, the voices of the residents are often left out of the process.The Sasaki Foundation Design Grants focused on the biennial theme of resilience to highlight the role of design in building stronger communities - proactive approaches to climate adaptation, housing, transit, and placekeeping - the Sasaki Foundation issued a call for proposals to find projects that engaged with communities in the Gateway Cities, Metro West, and Greater Boston.In 2019, the Sasaki Foundation received 18 applications representing 42 organizations, 11 institutions, 8 Boston communities, 6 Greater Boston cities, and 2 Gateway Cities. Finalists pitched their ideas to win grant money and coworking space in the Incubator at Sasaki. The three winning teams spent ten months in the Incubator working on projects that promote equity in design.

Climate - Mobility

Teacher Leadership in Massachusetts: Roles, Opportunities and Gaps

November 1, 2019

At the request of the Barr Foundation, and with their support, Education First researched the teacher leadership landscape in Massachusetts.The goals of this research were to: understand the breadth of existing programs and opportunities available to Massachusetts teacher leaders, identify where and how these opportunities link together to create pathways for teacher leaders, and pinpoint gaps in the current ecosystem.Process: This research was informed by a review of the national research on teacher leadership, interviews with local and national leaders, and focus groups with Massachusetts leaders.This document is a summary of that research, and includes one potential framework to think about pathways for teacher leaders. It does not represent a comprehensive view of every role and opportunity available to teacher leaders in Massachusetts, and captures only a snapshot in time. The tools in this document can be used in whatever ways are most helpful to those in the field.

Perspectives on High School Education in New England

June 3, 2019

This survey of 2,500+ New England parents, students, teachers, and principals reflects their perspectives on high school education: the purpose of high school, what skills and knowledge high school graduates need to have, and what high school might need to look like to meet those needs.

Education - New Models

Massachusetts Working Cities Challenge Final Assessment of Round 1 Progress

July 20, 2018

In May 2013, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (Boston Fed) formally launched the Working Cities Challenge: An Initiative for Massachusetts Smaller Cities. The Working Cities Challenge (WCC) encourages and supports leaders from the business, government, philanthropy, and nonprofit sectors in smaller, postindustrial cities to work collaboratively on innovative strategies that have the potential to produce large-scale results for low-income residents in their communities. Ultimately, the Boston Fed expects that the teams' efforts will build the cities' civic infrastructure leading to long-term improved prosperity and opportunity for residents in Working Cities.The Boston Fed developed a competitive process for city selection in which a jury chose the winning cities with the grant award varying based on the strength of the cities' proposals. WCC announced in early 2014 the award of a total of $1.8 million in grants to six working cities. The competitive grants included four implementation grants ranging in size from $700,000 to $225,000 over a planned three-year period awarded to Chelsea, Fitchburg, Holyoke, and Lawrence. In addition, WCC awarded two smaller $100,000 one-year seed grants to Salem and Somerville. Based on the assessment of progress at the midpoint of the implementation period, the Boston Fed extended the grant cycle slightly and augmented the implementation grants. Following a second juried competitive application process, the Boston Fed awarded each of the four implementation cities an additional $150,000 and extended the grant period through September 2017, making implementation a full three-and-a-half years. Beyond the grant funds, the working cities have received technical assistance and opportunities for shared learning and peer exchange. While perhaps less tangible than technical assistance, but no less important, the working cities now have greater visibility and new forums for access to funders as well.Below is a presentation produced by Mt. Auburn Associates.Please find the full report, case studies, and additional resources here:

Metro Boston Perfect Fit Parking Initiative

February 28, 2017

Parking is a point of contention in communities across Metro Boston, and a matter of great importance to the region's housing, transportation, and economic future. Yet many deliberations about the topic occur in the absence of hard data about the amount ofparking that is actually utilized. Parking requirements for new housing developments tend to rely more on precedent, neighborhood concerns, and instinct than they do empirical analysis. While some municipalities are taking data-driven approaches to parking management in their downtowns, few have yet to take a systematic approach to creating demand-based parking requirements for multifamily residential developments. A demand-based parking approach uses field observations and statistical models about likely parking demand as the basis for determiningoff-street parking requirements, and uses parking policy as a tool to discourage vehicle ownership and reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in highly transit-accessible and walkable locations.The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) has begun an initiative to develop the data and tools that communities need to establish informed, sustainable, and economical parking policies. This report summarizes Phase 1 of that effort, which entailed field surveys of 80 multifamily residential developments to measure actual parking utilization, and statistical modeling of the results to assess what neighborhood and building factors are associated with parking demand. Phase 1 was limited to five municipalities north of Boston: Arlington, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, and Melrose. Future phases of the work will include data collection in additional parts of the region, refinement of the parking demand model, and creation of digital tools to support community decision-making.A full set of resources including a dataset and infographics are available here:

Climate - Mobility

Green Light? Public Opinion on BRT in Boston

October 14, 2015

The MassInc Polling Group found little evidence that BRT is seen as an inferior mode by those in the neighborhoods surrounding Boston, which was a key question going into this research. They also found that non-riders are ambivalent more than hostile to BRT in Boston, even after hearing about the tradeoffs that BRT would present to the roads. Furthermore, riders quickly grasped the potential benefits of the BRT features and saw the improvement to the overall transportation experience.BRT in Boston could present an opportunity for mode shifting among non-riders. However, both riders and non-riders are concerned about the tradeoffs associated with BRT. Among non-riders, car-ownership is a key factor in levels of concern.

Climate - Mobility

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