Hometown Initiative @ City Lab
Margaret Mead, The Utne Reader, 1992
In 2004-2005, Prof. Carrera inaugurated a series of studies entitled the "Hometown Projects" to give students who are not participating in the Global Perspectives Program a chance to carry out an IQP that will benefit their own home towns. It is hoped that the local flavor of these projects will also engage faculty advisors who live in these towns, so that both students and faculty can be equally motivated by the desire to contribute to a place that holds personal significance to them. Initially, we have focused on towns around the Worcester metro area, but we will expand this initiative to other locales as needed. So far, 8 Hometown projects have been initiated in 6 towns in the vicinity of Worcester: Spencer, Paxton, West Boylston, Shrewsbury, Boylston and Boxborough. City Lab provides Urban Technologies to facilitate the collection of urban data and will incubate town Urban Information Systems in its servers before migrating them to final providers. City Lab is cooperating with MassGIS on the development of LOUIS, the Local Online Urban Information System, which is an enhanced municipal version of Oliver, the Massachusetts OnLIne data ViewER. City Knowledge principles will pervade most of the hometown projects so that a cumulative accrual of urban information can emerge over time to make WPI’s contribution to these towns more and more tangible as time passes.