Research Projects

Since 2010, the Engagement Lab has established itself as a leader in the space of civic media, with faculty, staff, and students employing participatory methods to co-create media and technology with those most impacted by the problems the interventions are designed to address. 

We have worked locally and in over a dozen countries, forging partnerships with local institutional and community stakeholders to build media interventions that enable greater, more equitable, participation in public life.

Fairmount Stories: Mobility, Advocacy, and Environmental Justice

Fairmount Stories


A website designed share the history of advocacy along the Fairmount Line and goals for the future

a number of illustrated people solo and in pairs across a purple background with stars


2020 - Present

A tool for engagement journalism, fosters trust by involving communities in reporting.

A map with a marked orange line running between trees, mountains, and rivers

Mapping Impactful Media Literacy Practices

2020 - Present

A project exploring how impact and equity are understood and applied in media literacy practice and research.

The Deep Listening Project over a map highlighting a region of Nepal

The Deep Listening Project

2021 - Present

The Deep Listening Project is a multidisciplinary effort to create a sustainable communication infrastructure for collaborative climate adaptation.

Artwork by Melinda Ureczki Lazar


2019 - 2022

OurCluj redefines urban innovation by prioritizing well-being and values of care and trust.

Illustration of smartphone with four individuals in squares, suggesting a Zoom call.

Getting Connected


Getting Connected empowers Boston's older adults with user-friendly guides for video conferencing software, addressing social isolation.

People in blue t-shirts and facemasks gathered around a park bench

Just Engagement


A guide that defines desired community engagement practices to promote equity and inclusion in decision-making related to development in Boston.

A heart on a blue field made up of silhouettes of people with different skintones

People’s Collaborative Governance Network (PCGN)

2019 - 2021

PCGN sought to narrow disparities in housing, wealth, education, and health in Boston by practicing collaborative governance.

Abstract blobs in gradients of pink, red, and purple

Beta Blocks

2018 - 2021

Beta Blocks promotes community involvement in Boston's smart city development through fun and safe exploration of new urban technology.

A gold to red gradient with a teal cube suggesting internet connections

Solving for Trust: Innovations in Smart Urban Governance


A report that examines how city governments gain and retain the trust of their constituents in a time where distrust in institutions has risen.

Person Holding up a baby not their shoulders.

Make the Breast Pump Not Suck Hackathon

2018 - 2019

A project that catalyzes equity-centered innovation in postpartum healthcare.

Illustrated houses, trees, and roads connected through a rainbow

Port(land) of Opportunity

2018 - 2019

An educational game empowering immigrants and refugees in Portland, ME to navigate city services and acquire skills for successful integration.

A powerpoint presentation overlaid with a blue texture

Making a Civic Smart City

2018 - 2019

A workshop aimed to disrupt the common practice of implementing smart technologies without public input

Three colorful shapes evoking line graphs over rows of binary code

Civic Data Ambassadors

2018 - 2019

A project addressing the challenge of librarians lacking an understanding of civic data and its practical applications.

Photo of Kevin Sibley, former Director of the City of Boston‘s Mayor’s Office of Returning Citizens, watching a video.

CoVR: Collaborative Virtual Reality for Reentry

2018 - 2019

A VR reentry program to ease anxiety and better prepare female inmates for life after incarceration.

An illustration of Ananse with two other people amidst leafy growing plants

Handwashing with Ananse

2018 - 2019

A game-based curriculum for 7- to 11-year-olds in Ghana that teaches the importance of handwashing.

An illustration of orange buildings, trees, and vehicles

Civic IDEA

2018 - 2019

A media literacy intervention to help build the capacity of youth to be more engaged citizens through the creation and distribution of media

A grayscale photo of a brick wall over a black and white texture

Make FOIA Work

2018 - 2019

Using Freedom of Information Act Requests to Engage Students and Communities in Local Investigative Reporting

Person wearing VR glasses and pointing


2017 - 2018

AR Stories Hack Day empowered Boston's youth to enhance augmented reality games with local history.

@stake logo


2015 - 2018

A game designed to address conflicts in civic and political issues by encouraging players to consider various perspectives, invent creative solutions, and make collective decisions

Person holding phone on the foreground and tv screen on the background

Emerging Citizens

2016 - 2018

How can media literacy enable a more civic-minded participatory culture?

Chhota Bheem and other cartoon characters by a reflective body of water

Hygiene with Chhota Bheem

2017 - 2018

A play-based curriculum designed to raise awareness of and encourage best practices for health and hygiene among young children.

Room at the top logo

Room at the Top

2016 - 2017

A massively multiplayer card game designed for in-person engagement that challenges assumptions and biases about creative collaboration.

Y.adapt logo

Act to Adapt


A curriculum consisting of games and playful activities that create real world action around climate change.

Laptop screen with Civic Media Project website

Civic Media Project

2015 - 2016

A collection of case studies divided into four sections: Play + Creativity, Systems + Design, Learning + Engagement, and Community + Action.

A screenshot from the game Risk Horizon

Risk Horizon

2015 - 2016

A game allowing participants to learn risk management through experiential gameplay.

laptop screen with Unlocking Health game

Unlocking Health

2015 - 2016

An exploration and strategy game for teaching the principles of Results Based Financing.

A teal map of city streets with yellow post-its

Public Engagement Roadmap

2015 - 2016

A 18-month accelerator program focused on civic methods to incorporate public participation into government processes in a way that’s meaningful and impactful.

Work flow

Sub-project of Community PlanIt: Work Flow

2014 - 2015

A game developed in response to youth unemployment challenges in Bhutan.

Up River


2013 - 2014

A game developed to address the issue of predictable floods.

Civic Seed

Civic Seed

2012 - 2013

An online multiplayer RPG, developed to prepare students for community service.

A blue tuxedoed cartoon character in front of a city skyline

Community PlanIt

2011 - 2012

Community PlanIt aims to transform traditional engagement by fostering diversity, learning, and trust while curbing one-issue activism and incivility.

Illustration of the Chinatown Gate in Boston's Chinatown

Participatory Chinatown


A multiplayer game where players embark on missions that later are shared with decision-makers and help the development of Chinatown.

Boba Boda text and Red Cross and motorcycle logo

Boda Boda

A game designed to reinforce the Red Cross’s training in motorcycle maintenance and first aid to boda boda drivers in Uganda.