The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School has partnered with five cities in Massachusetts to form the Innovation Field Lab course. The Innovation Field Lab challenges graduate students to develop data-driven strategies to assist cities in improving social conditions. Students and cities address housing and distressed properties, which result from underlying systems failure and threatens the well-being of a city's residents. Students are responsible for diagnosing, designing and recommending strategies to implement collaborative, multi-sector change. 

The Somerville Connection. Embedded in the Innovation Field Lab is the leadership experience and best practices from Joseph Curtatone, mayor of Somerville and an Ash Center Innovations Senior Visiting Fellow. Drawing upon over a decade’s worth of experience as Mayor and Somerville’s pioneering innovations in governance, Mayor Curtatone will help lead the Field Lab’s operations and educational activities. As a co-facilitator of the inaugural field study course: MLD 621M, Field Study in Urban Innovation, Mayor Curtatone shares first-hand reflections of Somerville’s steps towards becoming a leader in municipal innovation and provide participating students with guidance and feedback throughout the semester.