Public Way

Beyond the glass box: Architecture in the Seaport is just starting to get interesting

A little over two years ago, developer Michael Phillips told architect David Manfredi to his face that the biggest liability of Boston’s Seaport District was “uninspiring architecture.” … [T]here have been similar critiques for years that the Seaport is full of cold, glass boxes — and it’s starting to be more openly discussed. At least some of the developers of the remaining blocks of property in the neighborhood aim to tackle the critique head-on.

→Source: Boston Business Journal

Public, but hidden: Boston needs to call out its secret spaces

Privately owned public spaces: What could be more oxymoronic? But Boston is full of seemingly public places — like Post Office Square Park, or the popular “adult playground” called the Lawn on D — that are actually controlled by private developers who can restrict them at will. And there are many seemingly private spaces — like office lobbies and rooftop decks — that are actually open to all. Welcome to the ad hoc, hodgepodge, public-use puzzle that is Boston.

→Source: The Boston Globe

Seaport ferries get a boost

Nonprofit Boston Harbor Now is gearing up to pitch state officials on Thursday about two ferry routes: one linking several inner harbor docks, including Fan Pier in the Seaport, and the other making a beeline for Quincy. All this is good news for the traffic-congested Seaport. The South Boston Waterfront has been served by just a single commuter boat, one that visits only a few times a day. The additional service could bring hundreds of additional commuters daily over water, instead of by car or bus.

→Source: The Boston Globe

Calls Build For Ferry Service On ‘Underutilized’ Columbia Point

Academic and business leaders in Dorchester’s Columbia Point are looking to increase transportation options by adding a ferry stop in the quickly developing neighborhood that borders Boston Harbor.

→Source: WBUR

Port of Boston needs (regulatory) attention

Kudos to Boston Harbor Now’s Jill Valdes Horwood and James Aloisi from TransitMatters for highlighting the need to rethink industrial ports like Boston (“Boston’s Port Needs Attention”). While their insights and observations were spot-on, they left me wanting to read more and get into the seaweed on how to implement their vision. Here’s one possible approach.

→Source: CommonWealth Magazine

Knight Foundation Announces $1 Million in New Fellowships to Support Innovative Use of Public Spaces to Transform Communities

Knight Foundation is inviting nominations for the inaugural Knight Public Spaces Fellowship, intended to recognize leading civic innovators who have created or influenced great public spaces that have transformed communities across America. A small group of selected fellows will share up to $1 million in grants to continue their work.

→Source: Knight Foundation

Fidelity would create large waterfront space at revamped World Trade Center in Seaport

The most dramatic changes would occur on the front side of the complex, closest to Seaport Boulevard: The Commonwealth Hall exhibition space will be shuttered for good next year and replaced in part by a 25,000-square-foot waterfront courtyard that will feature small outdoor events and markets throughout the year.

→Source: The Boston Globe

Massport is unloading another acre of its South Boston real estate holdings

The site on Congress Street, behind John Hancock’s previous glass-enclosed home and next to the Silver Line Way MBTA stop, could accommodate up to 400,000 square feet of mixed-use development, with the potential to increase that amount to 600,000 if the developer also opts to procure an acre-plus of air rights over the Silver Line right-of-way.

→Source: The Boston Globe

Why Inclusive Design Matters

Whether we realize it or not, the design process decides who benefits, who participates, and who counts. When that process is intended to be inclusive of everyone in society, we get places that welcome all, products that work for everyone, and services and systems that benefit each of us.

→Source: Meeting of the Minds

Charlestown looks at bringing new life to an old navy yard

The South Boston Waterfront may hog the limelight these days. But city officials are turning their attention to Charlestown’s historic Navy Yard, where nearly 2,000 people live. The Boston Planning & Development Agency recently put out a request for proposals to “activate,” in planner-speak, the waterfront area and is accepting input on the private sector responses until Jan. 1.

→Source: The Boston Globe

Recurring events