Daily Archive for January 10th, 2011

Q&A With MIT’s Community Innovators Lab

This is part of a series of posts that came out of a conversation between IDEAS and the MIT Global Challenge, Alexa Mills of MIT’s CoLab and Andrew Whitacre of MIT’s Center for Future Civic Media. We started a Q&A triangle where each of us asks questions through the lens of our program. Here is Alexa Mills and Dayna Cunningham from CoLab speaking about their work.

CoLab & CoLab Radio
CoLab is a center for planning and development within MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. CoLab works with low-income communities in putting their assets to work to help strengthen civic life and use the market as an arena for achieving social justice. Its vision is for domestic and international communities to be democratically governed, provide the means for residents to generate decent livelihoods, and be clean, healthy, and environmentally sound. CoLab Radio describes how that vision happens step-by-step, story by story, in communities.

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A worker at the <a href="http://www.evergreencoop.com/Laundry/index.html" target="_blank">Evergreen Cooperative Laundry</a> loads laundry.

A worker at the Evergreen Cooperative Laundry loads laundry. The Evergreen Cooperative model operates at the intersection of three key realms: urban sustainability, civic engagement, and shared-wealth generation. CoLab calls this intersection the 'sweet spot'. Photo by Rob Crauderueff.

KM: Where do you see examples of growth and creativity in working with communities to solve some of the challenges communities face?

Alexa Mills: Every community we work with is doing something incredible. In terms of media and communications, I think the work at Kentuckians for the Commonwealth has been inspiring. This year they published a video that ended with an older gentleman shouting “Blog it, Baby!” to a crowd of hundreds of his fellow Appalachians in support of the alternative energy / anti-mountaintop removal coal mining movement. They have integrated various media tools into nearly every aspect of their work,in a region where many people don’t have Internet access.

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