Amy Dain

Guest Contributor

Stories by Amy Dain

Stop poking the Bear

Stop poking the Bear

The West should try some empathy with Russia

The Boston Globe recently ran an opinion piece about Russia by a former diplomat that was anything but diplomatic. The piece was witty and terse – and mean. Perfect for clicks. “Russia is so far behind economically, technologically, socially, and politically, it just doesn’t matter anymore.” I have a different take, one that goes back(...)

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Should we smoot the subways?

Should we smoot the subways?

Can our geeky side make waiting on the T more pleasant?

Recent debates about whose subway is worse, Boston or DC, got me thinking about Moscow’s subway.  Moscow’s metro stations are palaces for the people, actual palaces. They are filled with marble, mosaics, statues, chandeliers, and even stained glass. You ride the steep escalator deep underground and emerge in a space as grand as a gilded(...)

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Are dashboards the right tool to measure progress?

Are dashboards the right tool to measure progress?

What sounds good and exciting isn’t always useful

YOU RUN A government agency or nonprofit.  You ask management experts how you can assess your “bottom line,” given that earning profits is not your mission.  You want to know if you are doing a good job delivering value for the public money you are spending. The experts tell you to take three easy steps.(...)

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Municipalities shouldn’t go it alone on IT

Municipalities shouldn’t go it alone on IT

Potholes abound for DPWs; coordination could help

EVERY ONE OF US relies on the services of local public works departments, pretty much every day, from morning to evening, in one way or another. Think for a moment about everything public works departments do for our region. They maintain roads and sidewalks, haul garbage, collect hazardous household waste, mow fields, install traffic signals,(...)

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Boston Public Market: Looks great, makes sense

Boston Public Market: Looks great, makes sense

Locally produced food sold in a smart way

DO YOU REMEMBER the first time you went to Whole Foods and saw the perfect stacks of flawless carrots and oranges?  You might have wondered: grocery store or toy store for the crunchy set? If Whole Foods is a toy store, the Boston Public Market downtown is Tiffany’s.  It isn’t that cranberry-orange-chocolate-cinnamon jam is so(...)

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Brutalist buildings need some TLC

Brutalist buildings need some TLC

Despite drama, humor, they no longer work

NESTLED BETWEEN BOSTON’S WEST END AND GOVERNMENT CENTER are two state-owned fortresses of brutalist architecture: the Hurley and Lindemann buildings. The structures are solid, but lacking. Outside staircases are fenced off as falling hazards. The walls have no insulation. The windows are single pane. Multiple unwelcoming entrances make it hard to find the right way(...)

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Riley’s turnaround effort bigger than schools

Riley’s turnaround effort bigger than schools

Lawrence groups and city in general pitch in to revamp education system

A FEW YEARS AGO, Lawrence’s schools were considered some of the worst in the state.  Only half of their students were finishing high school.  Test scores were abysmal.  Beyond the school walls, there was distress in the community: more than a quarter of the residents were living in poverty. The state appointed a receiver, Jeff(...)

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