Leveraging the Stimulus

Image by CoLab.

In early March 2009, a group of 20+ MIT students, faculty, and CoLab staff worked together to deeply understand how the disbursement of the American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was taking place and how the stimulus funds could be leveraged to achieve sustainable, empowered, prosperous, and equitable communities. This group, working within the Leveraging the Stimulus project at the CoLab and the CityScope class at DUSP, developed a report and framework that defines and advocates for "deep retrofits," providing a template for how such retrofits can contribute to broad environmental, economic, and social goals. This report is called "Leveraging the Stimulus: How to Retrofit Communities to Build Equity and Sustainability".

Leveraging The Stimulus Milestones & Resources

The "Innovation and Equity Can Transform America" policy series provided eighteen briefs, written by leading scholars and policy makers, to the Obama Presidential Transition Team that focus on the role of equity in today's critical policy challenges. The goal of these papers is to open up policy conversations in new directions that we believe go to the heart of our problems and aspirations and that move beyond business as usual. The papers are grouped into four basic categories: 1) growing an equitable economy; 2) transforming the urban environment; 3) sustaining people and families; and 4) re-imagining community.

Stimulus Disbursement Project

CoLab assembled a team of staff and students to take on the task of mapping the ARRA disbursement funds from the federal to the community level. This team prepared drafts of diagrams and matrices such asĀ mapping the disbursement. Building upon these initial drafts, CoLab developed a comprehensive Plan Model that promotes equitable community development through the retrofitting of buildings in low-income communities. The selected final products below are the result of the collaborative effort among DUSP students, faculty and other collaborators.

May 11, 2009 Community Leaders Meeting

On May 11, 2009, a group of community leaders from across the nation gathered in New York to discuss what they are doing locally to improve their communities with the stimulus money. MIT graduate student researchers Uyen Le and Sarah Nusser presented an extensive flow diagram and spreadsheet breaking down all green-related stimulus package funds. They represented a team of 12 contributing students. Additionally, Nelson Johnson from Beloved Community Center in Greensboro NC, Burt Lauderdale from Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, and Derrick Johnson from Mississippi NAACP presented what they are doing locally, on the ground, in their own communities to take advantage of stimulus money.


Dayna Cunningham