A panel discussion occurs on the stage.

Bold Aspirations for Boston’s Future

Highlights from a recent event at WBUR’s CitySpace, Boston’s newest home for civic discourse.

In my first blog post of 2019, I wrote about the imperative for aspiration. This is no time to be satisfied with the status quo or with incremental change. Our times and the challenges before us demand a combination of bold vision and concerted action. Indeed, this focus on aspiration serves as a key theme for us in our work at Barr.

In early February, we had the opportunity to explore this theme in greater depth with a diverse group of over 100 Boston leaders. As part of the opening of CitySpace, WBUR’s new venue for discussion about the important issues facing our city and region, we co-hosted an event with the theme: “What’s Our Aspiration? Moving Boston Forward.”

The evening’s program centered on a keynote speech by Eric Klinenberg, author of Palaces for the People. Eric described his research into “social infrastructure” – a term that describes a community’s gathering and meeting spaces, such as public libraries – and how much this infrastructure contributes to vibrancy, connection, and resilience in the face of varied challenges.

Following Eric’s talk, Meghna Chakrabarti, host of NPR’s On Point, moderated a discussion with three Boston leaders: Mohamad Ali, CEO of Carbonite, Yolanda Coentro, CEO of the Institute for Nonprofit Practice, and Karilyn Crockett, lecturer at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning and former Director of Small Business Development for the City of Boston.

The conversation included reflections on our region’s rich history of aspiration and bold action, and how those ideas are – once again – what we are called to demonstrate today. The video below offers a snapshot of the ground we covered together, and we have also included a link to video of the full event, for those who are interested:

For a recording of the full event, visit WBUR’s YouTube page, here.

Barr was pleased to be among those able to contribute to the realization of WBUR’s vision for CitySpace. We hope and expect it will continue to serve as an important forum for discussion, debate, and bold aspiration about the future of our region.

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