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Heinz Radio

Feb 4, 2019

Daniel O'Brien is a data analyst with the Boston Area Research Initiative and an associate professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. He visited Heinz College on January 29 to give a lecture about how Boston has used data generated from its 311 system to understand neighborhood "custodianship," or how residents use and maintain public spaces and to discuss his book The Urban Commons. O'Brien sat down with co-hosts Kate Vander Wiede and Collin T Hayes to discuss the unlikely path that led him from evolutionary biology to urban policy, the trends he has discovered in analyzing Boston's 311 system, and how cities can utilize data to improve public services.

For more information about Dan, visit or follow the Boston Area Research Initiative on Twitter @BARIboston

To order his book, The Urban Commons, visit


For more information about Heinz Radio, or to listen to past episodes, visit


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