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THE BINGHAMTON NEIGHBORHOOD PROJECT

The Binghamton Neighborhood Project (BNP) is a group of faculty and students from Binghamton University (BU) that works with community partners to improve the quality of life in our area. The most distinctive feature of the BNP is its scientific foundation. An explosion of basic scientific research relevant to the human condition has taken place over the last few decades, including an integration among disciplines that is ultimately rooted in evolutionary theory. This newly derived knowledge can provide new solutions to a wide range of practical problems. In fact, never before have basic and applied research contributed so strongly to each other.

We call this a “whole university/whole city” approach to community based research and action. The “whole university” part is a network of faculty and students who represent all academic disciplines and are adept at working with each other. The “whole city” part is a network of community partners representing all sectors of the city, including the Mayor’s Office and City Council, the Binghamton City School District, The United Way of Broome County, the faith community, neighborhood associations, and residents themselves. Problems are not studied in isolation but in a holistic fashion that contributes to basic scientific knowledge in addition to real-world solutions. We enjoy engaging our city partners in the “big questions” at the same time that we work together to improve the quality of life in a practical sense.

The BNP collaborates with other academic units at BU that engage with the community, such as the Center for Applied Community Research and Development (CACRD) and the Center for Civic Engagement (CEE), and is affiliated with two other programs. The first is EvoS, BU’s campus-wide evolutionary studies program, which provides much of the network of faculty and students for the BNP. The second is the Evolution Institute, an independent think tank that formulates public policy from an evolutionary perspective. All three programs are directed by David Sloan Wilson, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology, and are therefore closely coordinated with each other.

The BNP has attracted considerable attention in the scientific and popular press, based in part on Wilson’s book The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time, which was published in 2011 and won the Books for a Better Life Award in the “Green” category in 2012. The Neighborhood Project explains the scientific foundation of the BNP for a broad audience.

Visit the PROJECTS section of the website to learn more about our diverse projects.

Become Involved

We think that the Binghamton Neighborhood Project can become a model of community-based research informed by modern scientific theory and methods. This framework provides unprecedented benefits to the community in the form of scientific consulting, assessment, and intervention services custom-tailored to the needs of your organization and nature of your neighborhood.

Please contact us to become involved, either personally or with a donation. Financial contributions are 100% tax deductable.