Type: Neighborhood Master and Short-term Activation Plans
Size: Neighborhood Scale
Status: Complete, Implementation Underway
Street Plans was retained by the City of Somerville to assist with the creation of the Davis Square and East Somerville neighborhood master plans. The innovative planning process for these two neighborhoods is the result of SomerVision, a citywide comprehensive plan developed in 2011. This plan looks to maintain a dense and funky residential neighborhood character while also enhancing the city’s dynamic squares and commercial corridors with new growth.
To achieve the goals outlined in the SomerVision plan, a grassroots neighborhood physical planning process was created. “Somerville by Design” is funded in part by a grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities program. Both neighborhood planning processes are using “Tactical Urbanism” to test ideas and demonstrate possible long term planning outcomes.
Street Plans was involved with public outreach, transportation, street design, public space planning, and the integrations of Tactical Urbanism elements for the Davis Square and East Somerville neighborhood plans.
After leading four planning workshops in the summer of 2013, Street Plans helped develop an innovative outreach process and “testing ground” for the plan’s first design charrette. This included the activation of a vacant storefront adjacent to a 12-space parking lot that was transformed into a temporary, 3-day public plaza. Food trucks, live music, street performers and other low-cost programming elements engaged hundreds of citizens in the process while also demonstrating the potential to transform an underutilized parking lot into a vibrant neighborhood public space.