Tag Archives: Boston

Making Extra Pavement into Plazas

For those of you in the northeast U.S., go take a short walk around your neighborhood while the snow is still on the ground. This is a simple way to see all the extra pavement that is consuming valuable land in your neighborhood. Wouldn’t it be great if this left over asphalt could be made into public space? We think it would be great and have launched an effort, Pavementtoplazas.com, to help metro Boston make these opportunity sites more visible. We’d love to hear from you and please do submit any of the sites you happen to find in your neighborhood here.

The Pavement to Plazas project is based on the tactic summarized in Tactical Urbanism Vol. 2 as:

To reclaim underutilized asphalt as public space without large capital expenditure. These installation are usually pilot projects that are used to test possible longer term improvements. We think the Boston region has a lot of extra asphalt that could be better used as public space.

If you are interested in learning more about how cities are utilizing the Pavement to Plazas tactic check out San Francisco, New York and, the recently launched, LA effort. Principle Group is also working with the City of Somerville on a pilot plaza that we hope to have open this Spring. Join the Pavement to Plazas mailing list to keep up on news about that project and other effort to reclaim public space for people.

– – –

Thanks Mayor Curtatone and to everyone who came out last Thursday for the screening of The Human Scale. There was just under 900 people (!) at the show. Big thanks to the Somerville Theatre as well for putting on a great event.

What is Innovation City

There are some incredibly smart people working on making Boston a more innovative city. David Hacin is one of those people who I have had the lucky opportunity to work with in recent months. David’s office produced this nice video in conjunction with last month’s Architecture Boston. David was the guest editor.

I keep coming back to the core idea that a city’s civic spaces and transit served housing has to be top notch to continue to attract the classes of people that make new ideas happen. It seems that #placemaking , or the creation of engaging destinations, activities and uses that these creative folks find desirable in a place, will become even more important as cities continue to compete for talent.

On a related note, +Ian Rasmussen spent a week with me in Boston recently to kick off a project were are working on that is exploring how existing places can leverage their infrastructure in new ways to spur innovation. More on that later. Enjoy the video.

Relocating American Dreams

This past weekend I was part of the… expert… team that relocated American Dreams by Gillian Christy from the Arsenal Center for the Arts to South County, Rhode Island. It was amazing seeing this sculpture move from a urban to forest setting in a matter of hours. Luke Randall was kind enough to give this sculpture a home for several months before it makes a move again to Boone, NC for Gillian’s upcoming show starting May 1st.