Sara Brown

2013 Public Policy Summer Fellow

May 29, 2013
Graduate Degree:Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Undergraduate Degree:Dartmouth College
Area of Interest:Economic Development Issues
Mentors: Kathy Kottaridis, Historic Boston, Inc. and Devin Quirk, Boston About Results
Agency:City of Boston Department of Neighborhood Development
Supervisor:Carol Owens, Director of Marketing
Project Description:During her time at DND, Sara worked to design a Tax Title Dashboard that coordinated data between the Assessing Department, Law Department, and DND in order to help track and prioritize properties through the tax title and disposition processes. The goal of the Dashboard is to enable DND to better anticipate and plan for the properties it receives through tax foreclosure. She also worked on making DND’s existing property inventory database more searchable and useful, to improve property classification and enable faster reuse. In addition, she generated a set of recommendations for how to strengthen DND's communication to the public, including explaining how DND acquires and sells property, and how and when community members can participate in the disposition process. As part of this, she prepared content for DND's external website, including a new Open Spaces section covering community gardens, urban agriculture, and other alternatives. Furthermore, she served on DND's Open Space Working Group, and prepared the initial draft of DND's Open Space Plan to guide the agency's future efforts to support green space on city-owned vacant land. Finally, she wrote a white paper on strategies to address distressed properties, where owners are missing in action or unresponsive to fines, based on best practices from around the United States to complement the efforts of the Problem Properties Task Force.