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Engaging communities + Grant recipients

Re-thinking Local

For over 30 years the BSA Foundation has awarded grants to support public education programs in Massachusetts related to the built environment. Michael Haggerty—a 2015 grantee—received a grant to support “Re-thinking Local: Perspectives on Building and Cities from South and Southeast Asia.” The program created opportunities for Greater Boston professionals to interact with architects from regions of the world that are underrepresented in local design. Learn more about Re-thinking Local here.

Who was the audience and what was the benefit?

The BSA Foundation’s support of this program resulted in engagement with two architects from South and Southeast Asia—Vo Trong Nghia from Vietnam and Marina Tabassum from Bangladesh—and unique partnerships between GSD students and non-profit organizations in Greater Boston.

What was the final product of your BSA Foundation grant-funded program?  

In total, the three lectures reached an audience of approximately 100 people, and the design workshop—organized by a team of 10 GSD students—reached 40 middle-school aged students from Boston and Cambridge. Overall, the program engaged appromixately 150 people.

How did you deliver your program to your target audience?

  • A design workshop at the Boston Society of Architects that was organized in collaboration with the local non-profit organizations VietAID and the Bangladesh Association of New England;
  • A breakfast talk by Marina Tabassum presented in collaboration with the GSD student group Women in Design;
  • A lunch talk by Vo Trong Nghia; and,
  • A panel discussion featuring Marina Tabassum, Vo Trong Nghia, Harvard Professor Rahul Mehrotra, and Michael Murphy, founder of the Boston-based non-profit MASS Design Group.

Evaluate how well your program met your intended goals.

The program created opportunities for scholars and designers from Greater Boston to interact with architects from regions of the world that are underrepresented in local design programming. In addition, the program helped to create new connections between local non-profit organizations that serve Greater Boston’s Bangladeshi and Vietnamese communities, leading practitioners from Asia, and GSD students.

View images below. 

Images courtesy of Michael Haggerty.


To learn more about how the BSA Foundation is making an impact in communities, please come to BSA Space for a one hour “tour” of BSA Foundation programs. Meet with Foundation leaders and volunteers to learn broadly about the Foundation’s work and its impact. Foundation Conversation meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month. Events are free, but seats are limited. Check for upcoming dates and to reserve your seat.