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Fellow_PublicPolicy_Headshot _Alvarez

Xiomara Alvarez

Fellow_PublicPolicy_Headshot _Alvarez

Xiomara Alvarez


Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston


Rappaport Public Policy Fellow




MIT Architecture

Rappaport Public Policy Fellows spend 10 weeks each summer serving within the highest levels of state and municipal governments in the Greater Boston Area. The program includes students from graduate and professional programs at local universities.

Graduate School

Undergraduate School
University of California, Berkeley

Carol Burns, Principal, Taylor Burns Architects and Rappaport Institute Advisory Board Member

City of Boston, Department of the Environment

Peyton Jones, Climate Resilience Program Coordinator

Description of Fellowship
Xio worked with the Climate Ready Boston team on questions of equity and engagement when it comes to resilience in the city. Officially, she was brought on to develop equitable engagement guidelines and digital engagement strategies as separate deliverables; but as the summer wore on she had more and more trouble separating the two.

The natural hazards of climate change, much like COVID-19, disproportionately impact Black and Brown communities in the city. The barriers to power for these communities are not unique to the world of zoom open houses. What was more useful was to consider the ways that engagement can change and adapt now to reach residents who are still not accounted for in the zoom world, and to build a definition of engagement that prioritizes not just equity but justice.

As a deliverable, she wrote a memo which designed a sort of modular, plug-in-what-is-appropriate set of strategies for engagement that center community empowerment in the resilience efforts of the city. These options used the circumstances of the pandemic to highlight where existing engagement strategies were already weak, and suggested ways that the city could support residents now that would translate into even more robust engagement and relationships in a post-COVID world.

They were also written into the RFPs and grants she had the opportunity to be a part of writing over the course of the summer, which was exciting! In 2020 – 2021 Xio was awarded the Schlossman Research Fellowship at MIT.