Placemaking Seminar Series 2017
Programs take place at the BSA Space, 290 Congress Street in Boston, usually on the 4th Monday of the month from 6-8pm. They are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. To learn more about specific programs and to register visit the Placemaking Network on the BSA Website.
Wharf District Public Realm Vision
January 23, 2017
Bob Uhlig Halvorson Design Partnership
Marc Margulies, Margulies Perruzzi Architects, Wharf District Council
Jill Valdes Harwood, Boston Harbor Now
One of the oldest and most historically significant waterfronts in New England, Boston’s downtown waterfront is at the forefront of active transition. Spurred by the success of the Rose Kennedy Greenway, the neighborhood has been at the center of residential and commercial development interests. The panel will discuss the aspirations of the Wharf District Council and other stakeholders, and share the vision and strategy for a “window to the harbor” transformation that will be the pride of Boston, attracting businesses, residents and visitors while responding to climate change.
Public Art and Placemaking in Portland, Maine: Collaboration is the Key
February 27, 2017
Anne Marie Purkey Levine, Public Art Project Manager
Caitlin Cameron, Urban Designer, City of Portland Maine
Portland, Maine looks and feels different than it did a decade ago. As the city grows in population and as a destination for cultural tourism, how do organizations dedicated to the enrichment of the built environment appropriately respond and become agents of civic identity? During this talk, two members of Portland’s public art and city planning community will discuss temporary and permanent projects that have used collaborative strategies between artists, designers, and public/private partnerships to foster innovative outcomes.
Congress Square / Quaker Lane Redevelopment
March 27, 2017
Stephen Faber, Executive VP, Related Beal, Developers
Scott Pollack, Principal, Arrowstreet, Architect
Construction is underway on Related Beal’s and Arrowstreet’s additions and renovations to six buildings at downtown Boston's Devonshire and Congress Streets into a new boutique hotel and mix of offices, residential, retail, and restaurant spaces. The conversion will bring 24-hour activity to an area historically dominated by financial institutions. Their BRA filing says “From their original conception in the late 19th century as bank buildings, the existing buildings have conveyed an image of grandeur and security. For the last 40 years, these buildings have been restricted to private use and turned inward, cut off from the surrounding neighborhood and streets. The design for Congress Square restores these buildings and Quaker Lane to a destination within the heart of downtown Boston.” Quaker Lane will be converted from an underutilized service way into a European-style pedestrian area lined with new lobby entrances and storefronts opening to outdoor dining areas; with suspended cable lighting between buildings, cobble pavers, sculptural seating and landscaping. The speakers will present the details of this project and the exciting transformation of its public realm.
Boston's Creek Square and Siena's Piazza del Campo: Placemaking Potential and Realization
April 24, 2017
Robert Tullis AIA
What do these two very dissimilar spaces have in common? In imitation of Colin Rowe’s “Mathematics of the Ideal Villa,” Robert Tullis AIA will analyze the distinctive place characteristics of Siena’s famed Piazza del Campo and Boston’s almost unknown Creek Square. By comparing the two, he will highlight the potential of Creek Square to become a distinctive place, with many of the same characteristics present in Siena. Along the way, he will outline the topographic history of Creek Square, discuss place characteristics derived from the research of scholars like Camillo Sitte and Kevin Lynch, show the way others have diagrammed such characteristics, and even posit a few thoughts about the nearby and much-maligned City Hall Plaza, whose original design was inspired by Siena’s Piazza del Campo.
Jamaica Plain Porchfest: A Place-Based Celebration of Community
May 22, 2017
Mindy Fried, Ph.D.
The activation of place is a central concern of placemaking. Jamaica Plain Porchfest, an annual summer weekend festival, celebrates music and the arts in the Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain. Co-organizer Mindy Fried will discuss this arts-based initiative from the perspective of a sociologist. One of about 50 similar community-based events around the country, JP Porchfest has a unique mission: to bring people together across the divides of race, class, culture, and immigrant status, through the power of the arts. In 2016, JP Porchfest featured 400-500 performers of all arts and performance disciplines on over 80 porches. The presentation offers an insider’s perspective on the evolution of this place-based festival over the past three years including the following aspects: use of non-traditional venues as stages and gallery spaces; the festival’s expansion beyond music to include theatre, dance, storytelling, spoken word, comedy, a politician’s porch and more; increased engagement and endorsement from diverse community leaders; residents as performers, porch hosts, “porch fun managers”, and audience; and the active pursuit of diversity among those who participate in a variety of roles to make the festival a success. Further, Mindy’s presentation and ensuing discussion hones in on establishing this community-building arts initiative as a new “tradition”, the need for community connection, and the desire of residents for opportunities in participatory arts engagement.
The New Urban Farm at the Historic Fowler Clark Epstein Farm in Mattapan
June 26, 2017
Barbara Knecht, Urban Farming Institute of Boston
Kathy Kottaridis, Historic Boston Inc.
Brooke Trivas & Stephen Messinger, Perkins + Will
Keith Zaltzberg, Regenerative Design Group
The Fowler Clark Epstein Farm is a vacant and distressed Boston Landmark with two historic buildings and abundant open space. The site is being repurposed as a training center for prospective commercial urban farmers, and as a place where the public can learn how to grow and prepare good local food. The project restores the
18th century house for offices and meeting spaces, the 19th century carriage barn for a classroom and teaching kitchen, and the 10,000 sf of land as growing beds and greenhouse for the training program. The project is a unique multi-disciplinary partnership of Historic Boston Inc. (owner and developer), the Urban Farming Institute (lessee and operator), The Trust for Public Land (farm and greenhouse construction), and North Bennet Street School (preservation carpentry). Members of the team, along with their building and landscape architects, will present the details and challenges of this property’s renewal and talk about its potential to create a distinctive place and to influence broader neighborhood change in Mattapan.