A first look at our new partnership with the City of Boston!

Do you know about “third spaces?” Even if you’re not familiar with the term, you certainly do. If we think of our homes as our first space, and our workplace as our second space, then a third space is anywhere else we regularly spend time and that’s part of the fabric of our neighborhood: community centers, barber shops, libraries, parks, cafes, and even sidewalks are all good examples.

Third spaces are where most ioby projects take place. Soon, we hope a lot more of them will be starting up in Boston, where we’re embarking on a new partnership with the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM) to bring ioby to community-based organizations and residents with awesome ideas for their neighborhoods’ third spaces.

ioby in Boston

“We’ve always wanted to work more in Boston,” says David Weinberger, ioby’s City Partnerships Director. “Mayor Walsh’s team has been grappling with deep divides within Boston’s population. They’re examining and starting to repair legacies of discrimination and barriers to capital in its communities of color. We hope working with ioby will be one way residents can help heal divides and promote community-driven change.”

Now, David says, is a great time to jump in. Over the past couple of years, he’s been working with Dr. Atyia Martin, Boston’s Chief Resilience Officer in the Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Racial Equity, to envision and plan ways for ioby and the city to work together. “Atyia saw the potential value of the work ioby does for her city,” David says. “Both as a way to get residents involved with building resilience in their neighborhoods, and as part of the interventions she’s been involved with already.”

Formed in 2010, MONUM is the city of Boston’s civic research and development team. Their general focus is on making the process and delivery of social services more efficient and their outcomes more equitable. One of the primary focus areas of that effort is making Boston’s third spaces more welcoming, connected, and creative. We’re proud that, through this partnership, MONUM will be bringing ioby’s resources and platform to the residents of Boston who have an idea for improving their neighborhood.

OASIS on Ballou ioby

[ioby Boston project OASIS on BALLOU involved South Dorchester kids in growing and harvesting over 400 pounds of vegetables.]


“Social resilience is about becoming a stronger community,” David says. “A resilient community emerges when people accomplish something together. As our partnership with Boston grows, we’ll be able to say that, not only have  ‘X number of third spaces been built or activated in 2018,’ but also that those communities are now more resilient and more equitable because of the work they did with ioby.’ Our partnership with the City of Boston is about people and places being strengthened simultaneously.”

As this partnership rolls out over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be meeting with interested residents, government employees, and community-based organizations in Boston to keep shaping how ioby’s services can best accelerate and deepen their existing work in third spaces.

We look forward to sounding the official call for ideas in the near future, but in the meantime, if you live in the Boston area and want to make a third space in your neighborhood better, we want to hear about it—as always! Go to ioby.org/idea to tell us your idea, register for an informational webinar, or learn more about what ioby does and how we can help. For inspiration, you can check out some excellent past ioby projects in Boston, like OASIS on Ballou, Mystic River Open Water, and Chain Reaction.

Convinced that crowdfunding a project could be a good move for your arts organization? Head over to our ioby for nonprofits page to learn more and take the next step!