Boston Reddit Responds

Analyzing r/boston’s response to improving life in the City

In an attempt to find new creative ways to increase cooperation in Boston we are canvassing Boston area residents for their ideas. On Tuesday, June 20, 2017 I posted the following question on

What’s your idea for how Boston area residents could cooperate to improve life in the city?

In case you aren’t aware r/boston has a community of 71K subscribers with relatively active commenting. r/boston can be a grumpy lot but let’s see what we got. This post elicited 1.5K views and over 120 comments. Let’s look at some of the most popular and interesting ideas. First a couple of the funny ones:

Don’t block the box and put down the fucking phone. — xentralesque

It’s clear that many people are frustrated by the traffic in Boston and poor driving etiquette. I have a feeling that this sentiment or something similar would do well as a Boston car decal.

Gir giving reddit some ideas

Yesterday, we met Kate with her dog Gir, and she suggested that we have the RMV require a drivers-ed refresher as part of the license renewal.  This would be a good way to remind citizens of some key behavior we want to reinforce…

Start invading and annexing the smaller cities around Boston. You’re first, Brookline! bienvenueareddit

The last town to be annexed into Boston was my town, Hyde Park, in 1912 – Thanks Hyde Park Historical Society. I don’t think Brookline could resist if we put our minds to it…

Now on to some of the more serious ideas:

More public drinking fountains and restrooms. It’s so weird that even as a historic tourism city we are very much lacking in those facilities. — cookiecatgirl

We had a lot of people answer our question with complaints about Boston City services and resources. Over the course of the last week we’ve spoken with many area residents who have stated that we need more restroom and fountain facilities and more signposts to find them. Is there an active policy by the City not to provide these facilities? Some residents wondered whether area businesses blocked the creation of these facilities to increase sales in their establishments. We are investigating and will report back on what we discover…

I would love to see more bike/pedestrian only roads/paths around the city. Don’t get me wrong, we are extremely blessed with all the infrastructure. I would love for more roads to be closed off to cars. It gives that small city/village charm. — Lambastor

We’ve spoken to a lot of people in the 18 – 40 age range over the past week, and this has been one of the most popular proposals. A lot of them mentioned Portland as an example of a US city that has taken a lead on promoting cycling. Check out the Boston Cyclist Union  for updates on action.

Finally,  we posted the popular ideas that we received when canvassing people on the streets of Boston:

Friendship hot-spots – This idea was initially proposed by someone new to the city wanting to find new friends. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback on this idea and we are planning a trial run for later in the month. We will set up a friendship hot-spot in a public space in downtown Boston. More to come on this…

No Light Night – The Boston area has a lot of light pollution and many younger people have never seen the Milky Way. The idea here is that on a night designated by a local TV meteorologist as ideal for star gazing (no moon, very clear conditions) and in conjunction with our new friends at, we turn out our lights for 30 minutes and families head out into the neighborhood to see the Milky Way. Many neighborhoods have street lighting that will make this difficult, but there are areas where the worst of the pollution can be avoided – local cemeteries or parks. We are currently working with to plan this and we are approaching some of the local meteorologists to see if they will add a star gazing forecast to help us coordinate efforts. More to come on this…

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Do you have an idea for how we can increase cooperation in society? Let us know at

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