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The District Commons Guidebook: Strategies for Enriching the Third Place Northeastern University School of Architecture


The District Commons Guidebook is a programmatic and architectural toolkit for the underperforming Main Streets of Boston. Our solution is a new model for mixed-use public buildings tied to other consolidated community amenities, including bus stops, Hubway stations, playgrounds, and a weekly farmers’ market. District Commons will provide a welcoming “third place” that can be the center of civic and community life. Contemporary society has become too focused on the dichotomy between the semi-public realm of work and our domestic environments. Third places that are more than a Starbucks are necessary to create a common ground where ideas can be discussed, businesses can be started, and a sense of community can be fostered. Modeled partly on District Hall in Boston’s Seaport, a project that was seen as a prototype at the time, the proposed facilities include both fixed functions that are meant to be replicated across the city and a strategy for determining neighborhood-specific uses and features. In the Chapters that follow, readers can learn about the unique role and culture of Boston’s Main Streets, the concept of third spaces in the life of a neighborhood, the potential program components of a District Commons, governance and enterprise strategies, and potential sites for facilities in select neighborhoods. We hope you will be convinced after reading our proposal and reviewing our suggested guidelines that a new kind of public building is essential for the future health of Boston’s neighborhoods and American democracy.


Professor Timothy Love Tala Alkekhia Kimberly Dela Cruz Christina Dadona Rachael Gerry Olivia Greene Erin Gregory John Kearney Dan Kurz Mary Montas Matthew Shultis


Table of Contents Chapter 1: The Virtues of a Polycentric City Boston's Archipelago of Neighborhoods

Chapter 2: The Rich Life of Main Streets

The Unique Mini-Downtowns of Boston's Main Streets

Chapter 3: Third Places

Reconstituting a Meaningful Public Realm

Chapter 4: The Kit of Parts

A Swiss Army Knife of Community-Building Functions

Chapter 5: Governance and Enterprise

A Self-sustaining Management and Business Model

Chapter 6: Design Implementation

Selecting and Leveraging Specific Sites

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Chapter 1: The Virtues of a Polycentric City Boston’s Archipelago of Neighborhoods By understanding the diverse characteristics in each of Boston’s neighborhoods, we can better understand their specialized needs, and better design a District for each district’s unique set of attributes.


Chapter 1

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Charlestown

Allston/Brighton

East Boston North End West End Beacon Hill Downtown Chinatown/Theater Bay Village

Back Bay Fenway South End

South Boston Mission Hill

Roxbury

North Dorchester

Legend Green Spaces

Jamaica Plain

South Dorchester West Roxbury

Roslindale Mattapan

Hyde Park

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This map calls out the 23 neighborhoods that Boston’s Office of Neighborhood Services has officially designated, highlighting the boundary divisions. Showing the green open parks that help visualize the neighborhoods’ real size. The District Commons Guidebook


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 The Virtues of a Polycentric City The Virtues of a Polycentric City

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Boston’s Archipelago of Neighborhoods

Legend Original Land Landfill Downtown

This map, highlights how the Boston neighborhoods have evolved with time. Emphasizing on what is original land and what was then added by landfill.

Boston’s neighborhoods have historically formed around smaller, socially-defined communities and existing commercial districts that have well established centers, but poorly defined boundaries. The communities tend to overlap at the edges, and they are less discernible toward the border than they are at their commercial core. Therefore, although Boston has 23 official neighborhood designations, the communities within are defined by 105 unofficial and intertwining neighborhood districts. As Boston has grown throughout history and its neighborhood borders have shifted accordingly, the neighborhood communities have evolved within the changing urban context. The names of the West End, the North End, and the South End, for instance, refer to their respective locations on the historic Shawmut Peninsula, which was the original extent of Boston before the harbor infill. Yet, with the addition of new neighborhoods around their borders, they are no longer located in those geographic locations, and the names only have a relevance in the historic context. The Back Bay and Bay Village were previously part of the actual bay surrounding Boston, and have only became official neighborhoods after landfill projects expanded the size of the city into the water surrounding it. Brighton, Allston, Charlestown, Dorchester and Roxbury were all previously their own cities before they were annexed by Boston proper, and each was

comprised of many smaller communities that define Boston’s current neighborhoods. Dorchester once included the neighborhoods of South Boston, Mattapan and Hyde Park within its boundaries, and Roxbury similarly included present-day West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain and Roslindale. As Boston developed into the city we know today, the historic communities within each of the official and unofficial neighborhoods maintained a semblance of their original identity, visible through their strong community ties and their individual neighborhood commercial centers, still functioning today as decentralized “mini-downtowns.”



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1A

Boston as a Polycentric City All of Boston’s neighborhoods share a large-scale downtown commercial center that houses most of the city-wide civic, commercial and cultural amenities. However, the smaller neighborhood districts throughout the city each contain their own “mini-downtown,” which includes smaller-scaled program that represents the community’s unique cultural and historic identity, and meets their daily commercial needs. The city of Boston can therefore be understood as a Polycentric City, because its organization is defined by multiple political, social and financial centers across the larger urban framework.

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Legend Neighborhood Divisions Highway/Main Roads MBTA Subway Lines Commuter Rail

This map, focuses on highlighting the physical boundaries: the MBTA lines and main highways that run through the city, that help distinguish neighborhood divisions. 5

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The Virtues of a Polycentric City

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Cultural Boundaries

Physical Boundaries

Linking the Decentralized Neighborhoods

A Polycentric City is defined by its diversity of cultures, opinions and ways of life across the larger urban context, and embraces these differences in cultural values as a unifying urban characteristic. The subcultures in each of Boston’s neighborhoods are defined by their unique cultural identity, shared local history, and defined set of community values, which brings groups of people together despite the vast array of cultural differences across the city. Subculture identity thus becomes one of the major factors that defines unofficial neighborhood boundaries, as people conceive the extent of their community as the boundary between their individual subculture and the subcultures around them.

More defined neighborhood edges are usually characterized by firm, physical barriers that more clearly separate neighborhoods from one another. Transportation networks, are clear borders between communities if they inhibit travel across them, physically preventing people from traveling from one zone to another. In Boston, the road network was developed over time, organically growing out of historic footpaths rather than a planned urban grid, allowing people to move freely around the city over natural pedestrian-friendly networks. The incorporation of larger transportation infrastructure later in the city’s history, such as highways and train lines, added a new layer of physical barriers between neighborhoods and helped define the hard edges between communities. The North End, for instance, has such a vibrant and unique culture because it was historically isolated from the rest of the city by the elevated highway that ran through downtown. The neighborhood subculture was able to grow and flourish independently because it was clearly differentiated from the surrounding communities by a hard edge, preserving its unique attributes from being diluted by the proximity to other cultures.

Beyond serving as a barrier between communities, Boston’s transportation network also helps to unify the neighborhoods by creating a web of public transportation. The majority of localized neighborhood commercial centers either surround a public transportation line, or are adjacent to one, which connects the decentralized community centers to the centralized downtown. The proximity to public transportation also services the residential communities surrounding the commercial district, which are typically no more than a 10-minute walk from their local “mini-downtown.” Furthermore, the proximity to public transportation also gives people from decentralized and culturally unique communities the opportunity to meet and converge, linking people who are otherwise separated by the boundaries of their distinct communities.



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Neighborhood Development Annexed by Boston Boston neighborhoods previously were stand alone, separated by their individual cultures. However, when they were annexed to original Boston Mainland, they introduced the city to new cultures and traditions. These are the dates when such neighborhoods were annexed by the City of Boston: North End: 1700s South Boston: 1804 Bay Village: 1825 East Boston: 1833 South End: 1849 West Roxbury: 1851 Roxbury: 1868 Dorchester: 1870 Mattapan: 1870 Roslindale: 1873 Brighton and Allston: 1874 Jamaica Plain: 1874 Charlestown: 1874 Fenway 1879 Back Bay: 1882 Mission Hill: late 1800s West End: late 1800s Hyde Park: 1912

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Neighborhood Demographics Downtown Boston is the city’s commercial and political center and it includes three smaller districts. Downtown Crossing is recognized as the city-wide commercial center, housing the city’s major historic retail corridor along Washington Street. The Financial District includes the city’s largest office towers, and is home to some of Boston’s most lucrative businesses. Government Center is the center for all city-wide political activities, housing the city’s municipal government buildings and civic functions.

Downtown

Surrounding Downtown are two culturally distinct neighborhoods. Chinatown is the heart of Asian-American culture in Boston, and houses an abundance of Chinese restaurants, Asian grocery stores, Asian craft stores and Asian cultural centers. The North End was historically an enclave for Italian immigrants, and continues to have a strong Italian identity, seen through its abundant Italian restaurants and unique Mediterranean-inspired street culture. In recent years, many young professionals have begun to move into these area, desiring the close proximity to downtown and the unique cultural atmospheres.

North End Each of Boston’s official neighborhoods includes a montage of loosely defined and unique communities, which together comprise the identity of the neighborhood as a whole. Exploring the array of subcultures throughout Boston’s neighborhoods reveals the diverse range of cultures present throughout the city and paints a picture of the multicultural identity.

Chinatown



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West End South Boston

Beacon Hill Bay Village

Back Bay

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On the other side of Downtown, The West End was formerly a residential community for a large population of working class Jewish immigrants. It’s now defined by high-rise luxury apartments and TD Garden. On the opposite end of Downtown, South Boston is located across the Fort Point channel, and surrounded by water. The Waterfront historically housed the major fishing and industrial buildings, but now is transformed into the city’s Innovation District, home to new luxury apartment buildings, high-tech companies. In the residential community just below this new development, Southie houses the city’s largest Irish-American community.

Bordering the Boston Common is Back Bay to the west of the Public Garden, Beacon Hill to the north of the Common, and Bay Village just to the south. Beacon Hill is the site of the Massachusetts State House, and both Back Bay and Beacon Hill are the home to national and local politicians, famous authors, top business leaders and professionals. These wealthy neighborhoods are defined by historic Boston brownstones, and border the boutique shopping district along Newbury Street. Bay Village is one of the smallest neighborhoods in Boston, and is defined by Greek Revival-style row houses and bordered by the Mass Pike.




The Virtues of a Polycentric City

Located on the eastern shore of the Boston Harbor, East Boston houses a predominantly Hispanic and Brazilian community, and Logan International Airport. As a waterfront community, Eastie has begun to gentrify, but remains an enclave for immigrants with a strong cultural identity. To the north of the city and across the Charles River, Charlestown is a largely residential community historically defined by its tight-knit Irish-American community and war memorials. Since the 1980s, young professionals have moved into the area. Both neighborhoods are relatively isolated since they are across bodies of water and aren’t easily accessible by car.

East Boston Charlestown

The South End sits adjacent to Back Bay and is bound to the east by Route 93 and the southbound commuter rail line. It is the center of the Boston’s LGBT community and is largely populated by artists and young professionals. Historically the home of a large population of African Americans, the South End has rapidly gentrified in recent years, which has pushed out many of the original residents. To the west of Back Bay is the neighborhood of Fenway, which borders the campus of Boston University and houses many college students and young professionals. It is also home to Fenway Park, and a recent influx of luxury apartments.

South End Fenway



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Allston/Brighton

Mission Hill

Dorchester

Roxbury

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The neighborhoods of Allston and Brighton are located on the western most edge of the city, and have a similar demographic to Fenway. Predominantly housing college students and recent college graduates, they are comparatively cheaper neighborhoods to live in due to their further distance from Downtown. South of Fenway and bordering the opposite side of the Back Bay Fens is the Mission Hill neighborhood. Mission Hill is a residential community housing a diverse mix of African Americans, Asian Americans, Whites and Latinos, as well as a large population of college students.

Beyond these districts are the majority-minority neighborhoods of Roxbury and Dorchester. Dorchester, is Boston’s largest and most diverse neighborhood and it is mainly populated by Boston’s working class community. Roxbury’s population on the other hand is mainly comprised of African Americans, Caribbean Americans, and Latinos, however historically it is the center of Boston’s Black community.




The Virtues of a Polycentric City

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Jamaica Plain sits to the west of Roxbury, and is predominantly comprised of white professionals and Latinos. The neighborhood is surrounded by public parks, including the larger portion of the Arnold Arboretum and Franklin Park.

Jamaica Plain

In the southern corner sits Mattapan, Roslindale, Hyde Park, West Roxbury. Roslindale has a vibrant business district, and borders the Arnold Arboretum. Mattapan is mainly African American and sits on the border of Boston and Milton. Hyde Park and West Roxbury have a unique suburban feel. They have green spaces, and a residential built environment. Hyde Park is populated by African and Caribbean Americans, and West Roxbury is historically a White community with an increase in African Americans and Latinos.

Mattapan

Roslindale

Hyde Park

West Roxbury



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Ethnicity White

Black

Hispanic

Allston

Asian

East Boston

Other

Roxbury

Brighton

Mattapan

Dorchester

Brighton

Mattapan

Dorchester

Educational Attainment < High School

Allston

13

High School

East Boston

College

> College

Roxbury

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Average Income

Median Age

Dorchester

Dorchester

Mattapan

Mattapan

Roxbury

Roxbury

East Boston

East Boston

Brighton

Brighton

Allston

Allston $0

$10,000

$20,000

Comparative Demographic Analysis In order to better understand the differences between the six neighborhoods we studied, we analyzed the demographic data in the following categories: ethnic composition, median age, educational attainment, and income levels. We found that Allston, Brighton and Jamaica Plain are mainly populated by students and young professionals who are living in the area on a short term basis, either as they go to school or as they save money for the future. For many of these residents, living in these neighborhoods is just the first step before getting a permanent home and starting a family outside of the city.

$30,000

0

5

Comparatively, East Boston, Mattapan and Dorchester residents are mainly immigrants chasing the American Dream, or low-income Bostonians just trying to get by. These residents are typically looking for a permanent home for their family, and find themselves on the outskirts of the city in the cheaper residential neighborhoods. These residents are typically either skilled tradesmen or minimum-wage workers employed in the service industry. They are more likely to be working full-time to generate an income for their family than attaining a higher education.



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15

20

25

30

35

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Pie Charts to the Left: Comparing the different neighborhoodsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; nationalities and educational attainment. Graph to the Right : Analyzing the different average incomes and median ages between all chosen neighborhoods.

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Boston Main Streets

Brighton - Linear

Through the Main Streets program, Boston designated 20 official Main Street Districts as the centers of neighborhood commerce and cultural identity: Allston Village Bowdoin Geneva Brighton Chinatown Dudley Square East Boston Egleston Square Fields Corner Four Corners Greater Ashmont

Allston - Nodal

East Boston - Radial

Uphamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s - Radial

Greater Grove Hall Hyde/Jackson Square Hyde Park JP Center/South Mattapan Square Mission Hill Roslindale Village Uphamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Corner Washington Gateway West Roxbury

Egleston - Linear

Mattapan - Linear

This neighborhood map highlights the chosen Boston main streets in this research. We chose those six in particular since they seemed to have the most potential of having great effective impacts and have different typologies. We also created a 1/4 and 1/2 mile walk shed to demonstrate their accessibility. 15

Legend 1/4 Mile 1/2 Mile Main Streets in study Other Main Streets

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The Virtues of a Polycentric City

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Main Streets: The Center of Identity and Amenity Recognizing the importance of neighborhood “mini-downtowns” as the center for community identity and local commercial amenities, the City of Boston launched the Boston Main Streets program in 1995. The program was a public-private initiative aiming to revitalize the city’s ailing neighborhood commercial centers by improving each of the neighborhood’s designated Main Street Districts. Some of the city’s neighborhood commercial districts had struggled in recent years due to a combination of disinvestment from the city, suburbanization of many tight-knit urban communities, economic blight, and ailing urban infrastructure. Furthermore, the idea of the neighborhood as a center of commerce and culture was in danger of disappearing, due to both changing shopping patterns and neighborhood demographic shifts across the city. Through renewed investment and re-prioritizing community development, Boston aimed to jumpstart neighborhood renewal and revitalize the neighborhood commercial centers. The Main Streets movement across America has helped to change the way communities think about revitalizing their historic “mini-downtowns” and has helped to revive the idea of historic preservation within communities across the country. Aside from being a major street through the neighborhood, Main Streets historically served as the stage for social interaction

and the core of community identity. They were the traditional center for cultural and economic activities of a neighborhood. The neighborhood’s Main Street was both telling of who they were as a community, and how history had shaped the community into who they are today. The Main Street is the place where community memories are collectively remembered and shared, and a place where people gather to simultaneously live, work and play. The Main Street was the perfect stage for Boston’s renewed community involvement, as it was the heart of every community, both commercially and culturally.

result, we decided to further explore three Main Streets that represent these different types: Allston, East Boston, and Uphams Corner. In addition, these three districts already provide a good mix of amenities and have a strong cultural identity. But despite these positive qualities, these districts are missing a true center of community life and are in need for more social and cultural resources. These neighborhoods have already been studied by the city of Boston as potential areas for future development, and they are the best places to launch the first phase of the District Commons program.

Bolded in the adjacent list are the six Main Street Districts explored in this study. Each District in our research demonstrates a different level of development since the inception of the Main Streets program. Some Districts strongly need to jump-start their development (Mattapan), while other Districts show great potential for growth in future years (Egleston and Brighton), and the remaining Districts have already experienced a good amount of development since the start of the program (Brighton, Allston, East Boston, Uphams Corner). While analyzing the Main Streets, we noticed that a few relatively fixed patterns define the spatial organization of the districts. They can be qualified as linear, nodal, or radial types. As a 

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Chapter 3: Third Places Reconstituting a Meaningful Public Realm The concept of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;third places,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; while counterintuitive, is a productive lens for considering what a new kind of public neighborhood center wants to be.


Third Places

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What is the concept of a third place?

What characterizes a third place?

As opposed to the ‘first place’ which is home and the ‘second place’ which is work, the ‘third place’ provides a program where people may simply relax and enjoy the company of others. To this end, the concept of third places is a way of categorizing and identifying the various social spaces that may be found in a neighborhood. Through this lens one may begin to see not only what establishes these third places but also the social and economic value that is intrinsic to the spaces and programs they provide.

A third place accommodates the regular gathering of individuals outside of the realms of home and work specifically for the purposes of socializing and interacting. Expanding on Oldenburg’s more traditional criteria, a third places can really be a number of different programs or spaces that range from formal to informal and large to small. Most importantly, third places are never purely transactional in nature, they always provide a social component that is supplemented by the service or activity they provide.

Where does the concept come from?

Why are third places important?

The concept of ‘third places’ is something that was originally identified and studied by urban sociologists. Ray Oldenburg, a professor at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, in particular, has been the main proponent for the important role of third places in community life. In his book, The Great Good Place (1989), Oldenburg proposes that third places are the heart of a neighborhood’s vitality and identity as well as a foundation for residential and community well-being. For Oldenburg, third places are small, locally owned establishments which are free or inexpensive, offer food & drink, or other service, are accommodating, and provide an environment where one may find both old and new friends.

Third places are the backdrop to community life. They serve the community beyond the sometimes isolating realms of home and work, creating environments that foster social interaction and collaboration. These places help to attract business and improve a neighborhood’s economic functions. They also represent a neighborhood’s unique identity. They provide a community with a sense of place within the larger city as each community offers a unique variety of third places specific to the demographics and culture of the area. A neighborhood’s third places provide a context in which the community may come together, connect and establish bonds that extend back into the realms of home and work in a positive manner.

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Harvard Street - Allston Village A few of the many bars and restaurants Allston has to offer. Inside is a mix of people from construction workers to college students.

809 Barbershop - East Boston 4:00pm on a Thursday afternoon at the local barbershop. Locals congregate and converse both inside and on the side walk.

Silloutte Cocktail Lounge - Allston Village 6:00pm on a Wednesday. Many pass by but many more are already inside.

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A Basic Taxonomy The fundamental criteria for characterizing a third place are as follows: - Provides for the regular gathering of individuals - Social interaction is the primary function - Generally local in nature - Free or inexpensive - Easily accessible and welcoming Beyond this, third places vary across a wide range of spaces and programs. They may be more intentionally social, like a bar or restaurant, or may plan an almost-accidental social role, like a convenience store. Third places may also be informal gathering places like park benches or street corners where locals tend to come together and interact. These different types of third places provide for diffrent groups of people and as such some third places may be open to all while others may be more specfic to a local subculture. Successful neighborhoods present a range of third places that vary across these scales to provide for the varied interests and needs of their residents and visitors. Whether they are for food and drink, recreation, special interests, or simply conversation, third places create an active, vibrant environment that invites shopping, eating, drinking, relaxing, and socializing. They are an important part of a neighborhood identity and as such each neighborhoodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s third places are as diverse as its different residents. 65

Thir d Places

F irst Place: H ome

C o mmun i t y & N e i g hb o rh o o d C e n t er s

Second Place: Work Y MCA

Community and neighborhood centers These larger building types are an expansion of the more typical third places that can be found in each neighborhood. They incorporate a number of different third place programs under one roof, serving a larger range of community needs. Each type of community center has a specific mix of programs to support a series of parallel but not always directly related community functions. Some are more regional and serve a larger base of people while some may be found in each neighborhood as a way of serving specific community needs. Each type includes a number of social as well as functional spaces which support collaboration beyond just social interaction.

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B o ys & G i r l s Cl u b s

Branch Libraries

Pu b l i c Ma r k e t s

B o st o n Ce n t e r f o r Yo u t h & F a mi l i e s I n n o va t i o n Ce n t e r s & Co - Wo r k i n g Sp a c e s


F ood / Dri n k

Ca f e

Recreati on

Bakery

Sk a t e Pa r k

Deli

Fields / Courts

R e st a u r a n t

B asketball

Soccer

B a r / P ub / B e e r G a r den

Football

Con ven ien ce / Bod ega

B a s e ba ll

Te nnis

S p ecial In teres t

M u si c

Bo o k Sh o p

Comic Book Store

S erv ice

Ba r be r s ho p

Hair Salon

G ym

Natu re

Ga r de ns

Parks

Tr a i l s / Paths The District Commons Guidebook

Speciality & Craft Shops

Religiou s / Sp ir it u al

Third places can vary based on the neighborhood, community, or even the individual. A third place, beyond its more tangible criteria, is what the locals make of it. With this in mind, this basic categorization of various third place programs and spaces is by no means the full extent of what may be considered a third place, but rather a foundation for considering the full range of third places that each neighborhood has to offer. These programs represent the social component of each neighborhood and provide a platform for considering a new type of neighborhood center that complements existing third places and social services rather than competes with them. 66


Placemaking Third places can be found woven into the urban fabric in a number of different contexts and conditions. They may be any number of spaces from the formal to the informal, transparent to closed off or hidden. This is where the idea of placemaking becomes applicable. Third places of all types and forms are very much defined by those who use them and for what reason. In this way a third placeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s street condition, building profile, transparency, or any combination of the three, point to both a type of program or space but also how it used and how it could be used. A main street is a mix of these different street conditions, building profiles, and store fronts. Some provide for informal gathering while some provide specifically programmed spaces. For instance the building footprint can hold the street edge, be recessed from the street edge, or hold the street edge but open up to it. How a building or space presents the interior in terms of transparency is also speaks to the program and how it is used. Ultimately third places are about placemaking -- creating public spaces that are about the happiness and well being of those who will be using them.

Outdoor seating for a bar or restaurant.

Public paths and â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;greenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; transportation options.

Public Transportation 67

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This perspective is representative of a basic main street. It illustrates various street conditions, transporation networks, public amenities, and third places that may populate each neighborhood’s ‘minidowntown.’

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Placemaking Transparency If there is a high level of transparency it is expected that the space inside is mostly public and social rather than simply a transactional stop. On the other hand, if the storefront is covered with advertisements, it is assumed that the space is more transactional. Large operable windows and garage doors allow for a building footprint to hold the street edge, while also seeming as if it brings the street life into the interior. Spaces that harvest this idea of interior meshing with exterior are bars and restaurants. The idea is that the space can be clearly identified as a destination point because there is a need to enter the building footprint for the service. However when the building is completely open to the street edge it fosters the idea of being very social and welcome to all. Even when the windows are closed off during winter months, the idea that the large expanses of transparent glass that has the potential to be opened allows for the understanding that the program inside is not solely transactional.

Not Transparent

Partially Transparent

Fully Transparent 69

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Transactional

Partially Social

Specifically Social

Street Conditons and Building Profile Similarly the amount of exterior seating is another factor in understanding the nature of the space. If there is limited exterior seating or even some benches outside, it is understood that there is a social aspect to the program within. Similarly when a building is recessed from the street is allows the sidewalk to open up as if to create a pocket of social interaction. The space is then exterior and interior in nature. These spaces include such program as cafeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, biergartens, bakeries, bodegas, and fresh produce markets. Recessing the building footprint from the main street allows for either a

Transactional

public / social pocket or an exterior zone for service. The idea for a cafe, biergarten, and bakery to be recessed off the street allows for an abundance of exterior seating in which people may interact and even work. The building profile will usually have either trees or a canopy that defines the edge of the exterior space that encompasses the program. However, the building footprint may be recessed in the same way, but for a different type of social environment. Bodegas and produce markets can sometimes be recessed in order to provide a service on the exterior of the building profile. Both types will

Partially Social The District Commons Guidebook

sometimes include shelving on the exterior which will host multiple items such as flowers, produce, newspapers, and other simple retail items. In this case, the building is still recessed quite like the cafe typology, however it is more of a transactional setup rather than a social environment. Which lends way to the the hybrid of both third place options that allows for the building profile to hold the street edge while also opening up to it.

Specifically Social 70


The Home / Work Cycle Third places are always present whether one is at home, at work, or commuting. They may take on a number of different forms to serve the needs of the individual whether they are headed home, headed to work, need sustanence, exercise, or simply a place to relax. This variety in third places provides a neighborhood with amenities that serve all those who frequent the main streets, at all times of the day, and for whatever reason.

To this end the third place one visits differs depending on whether the individual is going to or from work or if they are located at home or at work. Sometimes the third place is common either way but many times the third places one frequents differ depending on the sequence in which one is travelling and/or the time of day. This relationship points to the fact that each individual has a number of third places that serve him or her in different ways.

Home Wo r k Wo r k

Third Place

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Home

Third Place

In the morning on the way to work

In the evening on the way home from work

This third place will typically be a cafe, coffee shop, or bakery

This third place is more likely to be restaurant or bar

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Home

Third Place

Some third places are frequented both on the way to and from work like in the case of a local convenience store, market, or bodega

Wo r k

Third Place

Home

Wo r k

Many third places are frequented while one is located at home These places vary but generally serve the more specfic interests of the individual.

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Home

Third Place Wo r k

Similarly the third places one visits while at work differ from those one may visit when at home or commuting. These may include a deli, park, or gym.

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The Home / Work Cycle Third places are also instrinsicly linked with the surrounding commercial and civic programs creating a web of movement that stems from where one may live and / or work. Third places are generally mixed into the urban fabric in the context of Main Street Districts alongside the programs which provide for the day to day needs of the community, for instance, the Post Office, the bank, or the dry cleaners. This way they are easily accessible for both those who work as well as those who live in the area. These third places should be of enough of a variety that they can meet the changing needs of the community over the course of the day as people move to and from where they live and where they work.

Wo rk

H ome

73

M

in

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Some people work within their neighborhood, close to where they live and many others commute to other neighborhoods or districts for work. A successful variety of Third Places provides for the changing needs or those who live and work in the neighborhood simultaneously. This includes places for recreation, sustenance, health and wellness, special interests, and other activities outside of those that serve the primary living and working needs of the community. In this way third places may serve as the basis for greater community function. Providing a balance between home, work, and social life.

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These webs illustrate a set of potential sequences in which one might move to and from home, work and the various third places and commercial and civic programs one may visit on a day to day basis. The District Commons Guidebook


The different social and commercial programs work off of one another to provide a street scape that hosts both functional as well as social spaces.

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Mi

Work

n. W alksh ed

Although the third places one frequents may differ whether they are at home, at work, or commuting, they provide a place where one may break up the work day or a series of errands, or even just enjoy the weekend. Ultimately these relationships point to necessity for place making. Creating meaningful social spaces that support the various needs of thise who live and work in each neighborhood.

.W a lk

sh ed

H o me

10

M

in

As many of the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s residents commute to work on a regular basis, neighborhoods must also consider those who will be gone during the day but around in the morning and again at night and vice versa. The District Commons Guidebook

This movement through the city requires a range of social spaces that support both local and regional functions. They need to serve commuters, workers, and residents at all times of day. 74


Chapter 4: The Kit of Parts A Swiss Army Knife of Community-building Functions The space program of the new network of District Commons will be informed by a kit-of-parts of program elements found in existing community center types.


Chapter 4

The Kit of Parts

Precedent Boston Center for Youth and Families

Photo Credits: https://www.boston.gov/community-centers

History The Boston Center for Youth and Families was founded in 1970 as a way to use school buildings outside of school hours as a community resource or program. Two years later, community schools were introduced. Additional services, programs and facilities were added as it expanded throughout Boston.

Social Mission “Since our founding, our purpose and services have been influenced and shaped by those who we serve – Boston’s youth and families. Nearly four decades later this tradition continues. The mission of Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) is to enhance the quality of life of Boston’s residents by partnering with

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various organizations to offer a wide range of comprehensive programs and activities according to neighborhood needs and interests.”




The Kit of Parts



Chapter 4

Social Goals and Impact • Affordable programs • Preschool, school-aged, and adult education • Family literacy • Youth employment • Violence prevention and intervention • Senior activities • Recreation and enrichment Program Concept • Common integrated spaces • Spaces dedicated to specific age groups • Circulation space is open and easy to use • Maximize the amount of sunlight • Visible to the public • Recreation facility to meet needs of the community

Entry

A typical layout for a Boston Center for Youth and Families. Program includes a gym, pool, and locker room, a game room, classrooms, and meeting room.



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Chapter 4

The Kit of Parts

Precedent Boston Public Library Branches

Honan-Allston Branch, Machado & Silvetti, 2001

Mattapan Branch, William Rawn Architects, 2009

http://www.machado-silvetti.com/PORTFOLIO/allston/

East Boston Branch, William Rawn Architects, 2013

History Libraries were born in response to rising costs of buying books, excessive free time that was being wasted, a desire to help the citizen’s selfimprovement, and attempts to lower crime rates in communities. Late 19th century “branch” libraries came into play to serve the public elementary schools that weren’t located within close distance to the central public library. These branches were either “Delivery Stations”, 79

“Deposit Stations”, or “Substations”. Soon they were turned into “Public School Libraries” helping teachers provide books for their students. In 1870, the Boston Public Library developed its branch system as a means to extend the library’s presence, throughout the city.

The District Commons Guidebook

Phtoto credits: http://www.rawnarch.com/

Social Mission “Built by the people and dedicated to the advancement of learning. They provide open access to recorded knowledge in print and non-print formats throughout the city. The Commonwealth requires the education of the people as the safeguard of order and liberty.”




Social Goals and Impact • The center of the community, they evolve as the community evolves • A safe and welcoming haven for all • Hold special treasures and host public programs • New programs are added to attract new users depending on the community’s current needs • Help immigrants with language, to feel part of the community • Tourist destinations, exhibition spaces, architectural attractions, and performance venues

The Kit of Parts



Chapter 4

(Seasonal)

Entry

Program Concept • Organized according to the age of the patrons and specific community needs • Building design is welcoming and inviting to the surrounding community • The interior features open floor plans that are easy to navigate around • Recent branches aim to be welcoming and filled with natural light through the use of large areas of transparent glass • Warm colors and comfortable furniture

A typical layout for a Branch Libary. Program includes a a café, stacks and reading areas, conference rooms, and classrooms.



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Chapter 4

The Kit of Parts

Precedent Boys and Girls Club

The Architectural Team, Inc., South Boston, 2015

Photo Credits: http://www.architecturalteam.com/projects/boys-girls-club-south-boston-id/

History In 1860, three women believed that boys who roamed the streets should have a positive alternative, and that’s when the first club was founded. Throughout the years, Boys & Girls Clubs have expanded into a diverse range of neighborhoods, always with the aim of finding new and better ways to make a positive impact on the children.

Social Mission “To help young people, especially those in need, build strong character and realize their full potential as responsible citizens and leaders. By providing: a safe haven filled with hope and opportunity, ongoing relationships with caring adults, and life-enhancing programs.”

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The Kit of Parts



Chapter 4

Social Goals and Impact • Good Character & Citizenship: Be an engaged citizen involved in the community and model strong character • Academic Success: Graduate from high school ready for college, trade school, military or employment with skills and resources to be successful • Healthy Lifestyles: adopt a healthy diet, practice healthy lifestyles choices and make a lifelong commitment to fitness

Entry

Program Concept • Space showcases the dynamic and unified experience • Interior programmatic spaces focus on serving youth, pre-teen and teen • Synergistic inspiring atmosphere by having: ○○ Shared program areas ○○ Central circulation area ○○ Calming colors for educational spaces ○○ Bright colors for active spaces ○○ Interior openness to allow the staff to monitor ○○ Balanced natural light

A typical layout for a Boys and Girls Club. Program includes a gym, playground, classrooms, art and game rooms, meeting room, and kitchen.



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Chapter 4

The Kit of Parts

Precedent Innovation Centers and Co-working Spaces

Chayi Industrial Innovation Center, Chiayi City, Taiwan. Bio-architecture formosana. 2011.

Boston District Hall, Hacin + Associates. 2014.

History While the ideas of co-working can trace its roots back to the 1600’s, the first officialy named “co-working” space was created in 2005 in San Francisco. At the time it, provided eight shared desks that could be rented out twice a week along with free wifi and social activities. Around the same time, similar programs were appearing in Vienna, Denmark, and London. By 2006, 600 such spaces offering full-time support 83

Photo Credits: ArchDaily

had been opened worldwide and by 2012 that number had ballooned to 2,000. Innovation centers began appearing along a similar timeline. The Cambridge Innovation Center was founded in 1999 around a “community of entrepreneurs”. In 2013, District Hall opened in the Seaport District in Boston.

The District Commons Guidebook

Mission Statement “Our mission it to build, strengthen, and connect individuals and communities of innovators while expanding the reach, visibility, and benefits of Greater Boston’s innovation economy.” -Boston District Hall




The Kit of Parts



Chapter 4

Social Goals and Impact • Encourage innovation in the sciences, business, and design • Provide space for small businesses or startups to have collaborative or personal work space • Provide an assembly space for lectures or informal talks about innovative research and findings Program Concept • Unless it is specifically designed as a lab space, the floors are configured as open and flexible office environments. • Rentable meeting and shared work spaces are provided to complement the open office areas • Sometimes, floors or areas of floors are assigned and configured for a specific discipline • Small businesses or individuals can specify working space preferences or needs • Additional amenities may include a café, restaurant, or lounge

Entry

A typical layout for an Innovation Center or Coworking Space. Program includes a open work stations, conference rooms, meeting room, offices, and dining area.



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Chapter 4

The Kit of Parts

Precedent Public Markets

Boston Public Market. Arrowstreet & Architerra. 2015.

Photo Credits: Architerra Inc., Matt Conti, and Olga Khvan

Quincy Market. Alexander Parris & G.J.F. Bryant. 1826.

History Often in the city center, the public market was a public gathering place for civic announcements, politics, and campaigning. Typically, public markets were solely sponsored by the city government. Open-air ‘shed’ marketplaces allowed for more diverse social exchange between different racial

groups, and socio-economic backgrounds. “In the late 19th century, Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market was built with a mixed use program that included a public meeting hall and administrative offices on upper floors above the market stalls.

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Mission Statement “Our mission is to provide fresh, healthy food to consumers of all income levels, nourish our community, and educate the public about food sources, nutrition, and preparation.” -Boston Public Market




The Kit of Parts



Chapter 4

Social Goals and Impact • To enhance access to healthy and local food sources. • Provide open gathering spaces and enliven streetscapes. • Limit waste on packaging and transportation. • Educate the public about food and resources. Program Concept • Typologies often included a “multiple shed approach” for flexible units created by each vendor. • The more permanent approach provides a long, open-air “hall” • Permanent vendors have stalls inside the market hall while seasonal vendors typically set up outside of the structure.

T

(Seasonal)

Diagrammatic layout of Boston Public Market. Program includes a a dining area, market, offices, and conference rooms.



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Chapter 4

The Kit of Parts

Precedent YMCA

Photo Credits: ArchDaily

History In 1844, the Young Men’s Christian Association was founded in London in response to unhealthy social conditions arising in the big cities at the end of the Industrial Revolution. In the early twentieth century, YMCA facilities were built in almost every city and town across the United States and expanded its program to incorporate educational, fitness, and social spaces. 87

Most also included dormitory rooms on upper floors. Classes held in the YMCA on Huntington Avenue in Boston were the precursor to Northeastern University. After the Second World War, the YMCA expanded into rapidly growing suburban communities.

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Social Mission “The Y makes accessible the support and opportunities that empower people and communities to learn, grow and thrive. With a focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y nurtures the potential of every youth and teen, improves the nation’s health and well-being and provides opportunities to give back and support neighbors.”




The Kit of Parts



Chapter 4

Social Goals and Impact • Building healthy, confident, connected and secure children, adults, families and communities by: • Being part of the community • Learning new skills • Developing healthy habits • Creating lasting friendships. Program Concept • Recreation spaces that meet the needs of the community • Spaces designed for specific age groups • Community integration through programs and activities • The facility generates economic development activity in the area • Circulation space is open and easy to navigate • Natural light is maximized

Entry

A typical layout for an urban YMCA. Program includes a gym, pool, and locker room, a game room, classrooms, meeting room, dining area, and dormitories.



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Chapter 4

The Kit of Parts

Kit of parts

The diverse program elements of the types on the preceding pages informed the programmatic kit-of- parts of the neighborhood centers proposed for Boston’s Main Streets. Since the districts we studied already have a YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, or both, within walking distance,recreational facilities are not included in the proposed program. The list of programs making up this kit of parts are:

T

• Café • Community Exhibition Space • Community/Rental Meeting and Function Spaces • Small Meeting and Consultation Rooms • Offices for Local Non-profits • Co-working Space • Rentable Office Suites

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The Kit of Parts



Chapter 4

Fl

ex

ib

le

Fixed vs. Flexible

Customizable Program

Community Engagement

Community Services Leasable Offices

Coworking Space

d

xe

Fi

Above Left: Diagrammatic cross-section showing the potential distribution of fixed and customized program components

Neighborhood District Commons will include both a fixed program, the kit-of- parts (as outlined on the preceding page), and flexible functions and features customized for each neighborhood. The customizable program represents approximately 25% of the total building area and can be distributed on any floor, depending on the uses and desired adjacencies.â&#x20AC;?

Above: Pie chart depicting the relative size of fixed and customizable program, with the same color-code as the cross-section at the right



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Chapter 4

The Kit of Parts

Spatial Programming Diagram The program adjacency diagram at the right shows the preferred relationship between the fixed program elements, support spaces, and circulation. While the facility can be up to four stories tall, the same program can be distributed on two or three stories, if the site conditions warrant a shorter building with a larger footprint. The ground floor houses program components that can most benefit from direct sidewalk access. These include the cafĂŠ, a publicly accessible seating outdoors and indoors, a flexible exhibition space, and the office of the City Hall representative, who will act as the chief liaison of the facility. The rest of the floor is taken up with a public stair to second floor meeting rooms, other circulation, public restrooms, and other support functions. Community meeting rooms are located on the second floor to allow for easy access via a welcoming public stair. These spaces include a large function space and smaller meeting rooms. In addition, office space is available for local non-profits. This office areas includes shared consultation rooms so the organizations can serve their constituents.

co-working space will be run both as a monthly membership-based business and on an hourly, daily, and weekly basis. This space, along with leasable office space on the fourth floor â&#x20AC;&#x201C; see below) is meant to attract daytime businesses to neighborhood Main Streets in order to increase a daytime population that can activate District Commons across the day and help support local businesses. The fourth floor has been planned as a coreand- shell office floor for local businesses that, through an application process, will be eligible for subsidized rent. It is hoped that companies that start in the co-working space will graduate to the fourth floor. Some of the non-public functions on the third and fourth floor mean that the circulation and the thresholds between some spaces will need to be carefully organized.

First Floor

Service Kitchen Outdoor Cafe Pantry Cafe Restrooms Street Seating

Sidewalk

Rep

Exhibition

Outdoor Seating

Outdoor Exhibition Legend

The third floor is a co-working space with associated meeting rooms and common areas. The 91

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Service/Support Spaces

Amenities

Member Occupied

Temporarily Rented

Tenant Occupied

Publicly Accessible




The Kit of Parts

Second Floor



Chapter 4

Third Floor

Fourth Floor

Pantry

Pantry

Non-Profit Office Suites Pantry

Stairs Elevators

Community Space

Restrooms

Restrooms

Restrooms

Stairs Elevators

Stairs Elevators

Meeting Room

Conference Room

Meeting Room

Conference Room Coworking Space

Meeting Room

Conference Room

Conference Room

Permanent Office/Tenant Space

Conference Room Conference Room

Balcony Outdoor Space



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Chapter 4

The Kit of Parts

A Customizable Template of Space Requirements The program adjacency diagram on the previous pages has been converted to a floor-by- floor space program below. Please note that these tables only account for the net fixed program.

Above the net total area, 25% of additional area has been allocated for circulation and support on the first and second floors and 15% on the third and fourth floors. The additional allocation

First Floor Programs

Qnty. Occupancy

of 25% of area for customizable program is NOT accounted for in these tables and can be added on any of the floors or on an additional upper floor.

Second Floor SF/person Total SF

Programs

Qnty. Occupancy

SF/person Total SF

Exhibition Space

1

100

7

700

Community Room

1

100

7

700

Lobby/Informal Seating

1

25

15

375

Meeting Room

3

12

22.5

810

2

100

600

1

50

15

750

Non-Profit Office Suites

3

Cafe Kitchen/Behindthe-counter

1

200

Shared Consultation Rooms

3

4

22.5

270

Cafe Storage

1

450

Pantry/Kitchenette

1

Women’s Restroom

1

4

100

400

Women’s Restroom

1

4

100

400

Men’s Restroom

1

4

60

240

Men’s Restroom

1

4

60

240

Manager Office Area

1

2

100

200

AV/Storage Room

1

Tenant Usable Areas Net Usable Areas Circulation/Service Total Floor Area 93

3,315 25%

829 4,144 The District Commons Guidebook

Circulation/Service Total Floor Area

450

400

3,870 25%

968 4,838




The Kit of Parts



Chapter 4

Third Floor Programs

Fourth Floor

Qnty.

Occupancy

SF/person Total SF

Co-working Space

1

30

75

2250

Large Conference Rooms

3

12

22.5

810

Small Conference Room

3

Pantry/Kitchenette

1

Women’s Restroom

1

2

100

200

Men’s Restroom

1

2

60

120

Chair/AV Storage

1

6

22.5

250

200

Tenant Usable Areas Circulation/Service

405

4,285 15%

Programs

Qnty.

Occupancy

Leasable Office Space

1

22

180

3960

Women’s Restroom

1

2

100

200

Men’s Restroom

1

2

60

120

Tenant Usable Areas Circulation/Service Total Floor Area

Total Building Area

SF/person Total SF

4,280 15%

642 4,922

18,774

635

Total Floor Area

4,870



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Chapter 5: Governance and Enterprise A Self-sustaining Management and Business Model Neighborhood District Commons require a strategic capital funding approach and a sustainable on-going business strategy.


Chapter 5

Governance and Enterprise

Public-Private Partnerships Through public-private partnerships, the breakdown of investments eases the risk factor involving initial company capital in new projects. Public role is to provide incentives in order to encourage private sector interest in order to ease the financial burden of a significant initial capital investment. This may be by marketing towards investment portfolio diversification or tax incentives. Sources of private sector income can include rentable commercial or retail spaces with programs from restaurants to institutional housing. Innovation centers and co-working spaces utilize membership revenue in which there is a steady income regardless of occupancy to balance the revenue offset from non-profit occupants. Public policies have included Chapter 40B for low to moderate income housing required in the private sector in order to encourage the growth in affordable housing (see Figure 5.3). In the state of Massachusetts, developers are now required 10% of their residential building units to be allocated towards affordable housing units in all projects. Additional housing incorporated into a particular project incurs tax incentives. In order to create more services to benefit main streets, a new model for public-private partnerships incentivizes private sector investors to provide capital funds for programs beneficial to both the public and private parties involved. 97

Public-private partnerships for capital projects typically combine the benefits of public financing mechanisms with the private sectorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to fundraise and procure design services and construction teams with less red tape. Public-private partnerships also allow the inherent risks of urban projects to be shared. The range of business models (shown in the diagram at the right) include three options:

Build - Operate - Transfer (BOT) City of Boston Parcel

1) Build-Operate-Transfer: A City of Boston capital project that is turned over to a non-profit entity to manage and operate the facility. 2) Design-Build-Operate: The City of Boston confers a parcel to non-profit entity that then manages the capital project, thus allowing for fundraising and a more flexible procurement process. After construction the non-profit turns the site and property management responsibilities back over to the City, but the non-profit entity is retained to manage and raise funds for the programming in the facility. 3) Design-Build-Transfer: Similar to Design-Build-Operate, but the City does not take back ownership of the site or manage the property. A memorandum of understanding between the non-profit entity and the City defines the Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s role in the on-going governance and programming of the facility. The District Commons Guidebook

City of Boston Client

Non-Profit Partner

Design Team

Non-Profit Operator

Flow chart showing the public and private roles and resposibilties in Design-BuildOperate and Build-Operate-Transfer business models.

Contractor




Governance and Enterprise

Design Design--Build Build--Operate Operate(DBO) (DBO)

Design Design--Build Build--Transfer Transfer(DBT) (DBT)

City CityofofBoston BostonParcel Parcel

City CityofofBoston BostonParcel Parcel

Non-Profit Non-ProfitClient Client

City CityofofBoston Boston

Design DesignTeam Team

Non-Profit Non-ProfitClient Client

Contractor Contractor

City CityofofBoston Boston

City CityofofBoston BostonOperator Operator

Design DesignTeam Team

Contractor Contractor

City CityofofBoston BostonOperator Operator



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Chapter 5

In order to reflect the needs of each Main Street District, the public sector may contribute possible programs enabling these buildings to interact with the Main Street community. Public funding provides a catalyst for private sector companies to provide necessary programs for these Main Street Districts. The difference in public-private partnerships lands on who takes responsibility for land and facilities ownership, design, construction, and operations. In the midst of the recession of 2008, public-private partnerships, or commonly known as P3, became a popular mode of financing growth in infrastructure and housing. Through these types of construction, three main types of P3 emerged, including Build Operate Transfer (BOT) and Design Build Operate projects (DBO), and Design Build Transfer (DBT) (see Figure 5.1). BOT projects allow the public sector to grant private companies the right to develop and operate an asset for a certain period of time. The revenue from which, covers operating costs, maintenance, and repayment of debt principal. DBO projects allow the public sector to own and finance the construction of a new asset while the private sector designs, builds, and operates the asset.

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Chapter 5

Governance and Enterprise

The District Hall Business Model

The original District Hall, designed by Hacin + Associates, was envisioned as the social and cultural center of Bostonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Innovation District, the development area along the South Boston Waterfront that was rebranded by Mayor Menino in 2010. District Hall was built by Boston Global Investors (BGI) and Morgan Stanley, the development entity that permitted Seaport Square, a twenty-three acre multi -block mixed use development project. District Hall is one of several public benefits the development team agreed to fund in exchange for getting City approval for their plan. In the original agreement, District Hall was to be turned back over to the City after construction and for the first year of its operation the facility was to be operated by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. However, before the opening in 2013, the operations and management of District Hall was turned over to Venture CafĂŠ Foundation, the non-profit sister organization of Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC).

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Photo showing view of District Hall from Northern Avenue of the growing Seaport District. Photo Credit: Hacin + Associates, Gustav Hoiland - Flagship Photo




Governance and Enterprise



Chapter 5

Hubway Bike Station Seaport Boundary New Development District Hall Boston

District map showing increased development in the Seaport District with integration of high density bike transportation resources. 

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Chapter 5

District Hall, as designed, built, and managed includes free-access collaborative working space and rentable meeting and function rooms of a variety of sizes. In addition, Gather, a full-service restaurant and a cafĂŠ operated by Gather provide on-site catering for the rentable spaces in the facility.

Governance and Enterprise

$ Member

Pods

$

District Hall has an ingenuous revenue model that balances the goal to provide public access with the need to finance the on-going management, operation, and maintenance of the facility. In addition to room rentals, Gather, the restaurant on site, has exclusive rights to cater all events in the facility. This helps with their bottom line, and thus their ability to pay market rents for their space. The meeting rooms are designed to accommodate a wide range of events at different times of the day. The smaller pods, are actively used during the day by start-ups and established businesses looking for space to brainstorm or meet with potential investors. These same rooms, and the free-access open collaborative work space can be rented in the evening for catered events. Likewise, the large sub-dividable multi-purpose space is predominantly used for business meetings, but also available for a wide range of social events as well. The high use of all of the spaces across the full hours of the day help subsidize the free use of the collaborative workspace during the day.

Bubble diagram showing the interconnected business model of District Hall through different users and program connections.

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$ $

Meeting Room/ Event Space

Groups

$ Kitchen Coworking Space $ Cafe

Restaurant

$

Public




Governance and Enterprise

1

3 4

5

6-12 People

8 People

6-12 People

7

6

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Chapter 5

In addition to generating a reciprocally beneficial revenue stream, the mix of uses and their spatial relationships creates a beehive of activity that encourages cross-pollination between users and groups. The activity generated by these different populations of users reinforces the perception that District Hall is the hub of the area. The success of the programming approach means the District Hall continues to be a desirable location for meetings and events.

150 People 2



Plan diagram showing the adjacency of revenue streams and financial connections throughout the building.

Restaurant Bar Kitchen Event Space Cafe Co-working Lounge Meeting Pods



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Chapter 6: Design Implementation Selecting & Leveraging Specific Sites Specific sites were selected on three of Bostonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Main Streets in order to test the proposed program kit-of-parts and understand the ways that District Halls can transform and catalyze the surrounding urban context.


Chapter 6

Design Implementation

Urban Pressures and Strategies Since the Main Streets we are studying are bordered on both sides by residential building fabric, a similar range of urban design strategies can be applied to all of the sites. The three strategies that are diagrammed to the right are the Urban Gateway, the Urban Spine, and the Urban Anchor.

Urban Gateway

Main Street

Community Center

An urban gateway allows for an intervention or community space in which the dense urban fabric can pass through a sort of gateway to a less dense or residential fabric. This allows for the neighborhood to create a central space but also a simple urban planning intervention for a gateway into the main street.

Community Center Park

Furthermore, the urban spine as a community space acts as both a pass through but also a destination. The program is as strong as the urban connections the space makes. Therefore, the hub is central but also reaches out to the neighborhood along the main street to make connections. Park

On the other hand, the community space as and anchor looks less at an urban planning point of view and more towards strong public program for the main street. This type of community space allows for the neighborhood to connect at a central hub which creates a destination point.

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Community Center




Design Implementation

Urban Spine



Chapter 6

Urban Anchor

Park

Community Center

Park

Community Center Community Center Park

Park

Diagrams that demonstrate the

Community Center



many ways that the community center can be a stop as part of a larger itinerary between home, work, and other third places. Also how the community center can be approached and accessed from the nearby residential fabric. The District Commons Guidebook

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Chapter 6

Design Implementation

Site Selection Criteria This chapter aims at distilling the research presented into a refined selection process that identifies two potential third place sites per main street district. Accompanied by this selection is the necessary data, including but not limited to: zoning, classification code, assessed value, and estimated FAR. These sites underwent a strict selection process in order to render the best possible options for this new typology.

Proximity to Transportation

It is crucial for those who do not own a car to access the site, therefore the site must be within 5 minutes of a hubway or bus stop and 10 minutes of a train or commuter rail.

Lot Size

The limitations of the lot size is reflective of district density and program.

Building Height

The limitations of the building height is reflective of the existing context.

Main Street Access

The site must be .25 mile or less from the official main street district extents.

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5 minutes



Design Implementation



Chapter 6

5 minutes

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Chapter 6

Design Implementation

Main Street District Analysis Allston Village The sites were selected after the analysis of parcel density, building heights, vacant parcels, and parking lots.

Population Density

Building Heights

Parking and Vacant Lots

This map illustrates the residential population density per parcel. The Allston district has a distinctly low residential population, the most prominent being the central triangle due to the number of commercial businesses in the area.

This map depicts the relative number of stories of the existing buildings. Due to the Allston-Brighton Neighborhood District dimensional regulations no building heights can exceed forty-five feet. The existing building stock is representative of this in that many do not exceed one story.

Despite the proximity to public transportation the area has a large number of small parking lots. In the triangle, this has the aggregate effect of creating an auto-dominate environment that is at cross-purposes with the walkable retail that characterizes the larger district.

Population Density sf per person

low 1000 or higher medium 700-999 high 400-699 highest 0-399

109

Number of Stories per building

1 2 3 4 5 6 or greater

The District Commons Guidebook

Parking and Vacant Lots

frequency

Vacant Lots Parking Main street District




Design Implementation



Chapter 6

Potential District Commons 

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Chapter 6

Design Implementation

Site One Allston Village One potential site for District Commons is part of a larger urban design strategy that proposes to connect Cambridge and Harvard Streets with an L-shaped intervention. This will help break down the triangle â&#x20AC;&#x153;super blockâ&#x20AC;? and will interject some pedestrian-scaled urbanism along auto-dominate Cambridge Street. The site includes Thor Terrace, the Motorsport garage, and the parking lots for U-Save and Bestway Auto Rental. Comprised of both public and private parcels, any solution should result in benefits for the private property owners. Ideally, any incompatible businesses would be relocated to an equally well-suited location.

The proposed site. 111

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Design Implementation



Chapter 6

Parcel ID 2100710000 Address 392 Cambridge Street, 02134 Owner Veyssi Babak Lot Size 22,000 sf Total Value $567,000 Land Use Commercial Land

Parcel ID 2100718000 Address 31 Harvard Avenue, 02134 Owner Sullivan Joseph RTS Lot Size 15,780 sf Total Value $618,000 Land Use Commercial



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Design Implementation

Site Two Allston Village This privately-owned site is at the corner of Harvard and Cambridge Streets, the gateway into the district from points east, including Lower Allston, the I-90 interchange, Soldiersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Field Road, and Cambridge. The existing parcel includes a vacant one-story building at the corner of Harvard and Cambridge Streets and an adjacent parking lot.

The proposed site. 113

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Design Implementation



Chapter 6

Parcel ID 2100662000 Address 82 Harvard Avenue, 02134 Owner Jack Young Company Inc. Lot Size 11,597 sf Total Value $1,021,500 Land Use Commercial

Parcel ID 2100663000 Address 372 Cambridge Street, 02134 Owner Young Jack Trustee Lot Size 6,760 sf Total Value $447,600 Land Use Commercial Land



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Design Implementation

Main Street District Analysis East Boston The sites were selected after the analysis of parcel density, building heights, vacant parcels, Legend and parking lots. Black Vacant Lots / Storefronts Light Grey

Population Density

Building Heights

This map illustrates the residential population density per parcel. There are pockets of high density, which are typically residential buildings, and other areas that are less dense along the main street giving way for commercial program.

This map depicts the relative number of stories of the Tertiary existing buildings. East Boston truly is varied in building Hatch 1 height. Despite the fact that zoning limits Hatch building heights 2 to thirty feet there exists a smattering of one toLots four story Vacant buildings along the main street. Parking

Primary Secondary

Parking and Vacant Lots Since a Blue Line station and several major bus routes run through the district, there are relatively few parking lots. Those that do exist are located along the strip shopping center at Central Square. The remaining lots are scattered and serve the residential population.

Hatch 5

Population Density sf per person

low 1000 or higher medium 700-999 high 400-699 highest 0-399

115

Number of Stories per building

1 2 3 4 5 6 or greater

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Parking and Vacant Lots

frequency

Vacant Lots Parking Main street District




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Potential District Commons Sites 

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Site One East Boston This site, currently an under-utilized public park, is owned by the City of Boston. Located in the center of the districts largest intersection this site acts as focal point for a majority of the foot and car traffic in the area. Due to its location this site has the ability to act as an anchor by drawing attention from abutting streets, and as a pass through that would work to pedestrianize the intersection further. A revamping of this site as a third place would greatly enhance the main street district and surrounding community by providing a centrally located and accessible place for immigrants and start-ups to flourish.

The proposed site. 117

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Parcel ID 010592400 Address WM C Kelly Square, 02128 Owner City of Boston Lot Size 32,210 sq ft Total Value $605,500 Land Use Exempt



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Site Two East Boston The East Boston site encompasses a series of privately-owned parcels that span from the waterfront to Meridian Street at the London Street intersection. The larger ambition of locating a District Commons somewhere within this area is to connect busy Meridian Street directly with a waterfront path system that is partly being implemented by nearby residential development. Since all of the parcels are currently privately owned, solutions should also explore private development on the site that will benefit from this new pedestrian connection.

The proposed site. 119

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Parcel ID 0105415000 Address 170 Border Street, 02128 Owner One 70 Border Street LLC Lot Size 73,700 sq ft Total Value $541,822 Land Use Commercial

Parcel ID 0105417000 Address 62 WM C Kelly Square 02128 Owner William Kelly Square LLC Lot Size 12,060 sq ft Total Value $813,500 Land Use Industrial



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Main Street District Analysis Uphams Corner The sites were selected after the analysis of parcel density, building heights and empty parking lots.

Population Density

Building Heights

Parking and Vacant Lots

This map illustrates the residential population density per parcel. Uphams corner is not unique in that the largest intersection is surrounded by the lowest residential population.

This map depicts the relative number of stories of the existing buildings. A majority of the buildings over three stories are centrally located at the intersection of Dorchester and Columbus. In addition there are few single story buildings.

Given the relatively shortage of parking in this Main Street district, exacerbated by the parking demand generated by the Strand Theater, any new buildings cannot reduce parking supply. Instead, schemes should aim to maintain or increase the existing on-site parking.

Number of Stories

Population Density

per building

sf per person

1 2 3 4 5 6 or greater

low 1000 or higher medium 700-999 high 400-699 highest 0-399 121

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Parking and Vacant Lots

frequency

Vacant Lots Parking Main street District




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Potential District Commons Sites 122


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Site One Uphams Corner Located at the juncture of Columbia Road and Dorchester Ave this site sits in the center of Uphams Corner Main Street District. Given the high visibility of this site from the Columbia Road/Dudley Street intersection, a community center here would be an important visual anchor in the neighborhood. Given its historic character and prominence on the street, proposals on this site should retain at least the faรงade of the bank building and should consider larger district-wide parking strategies if the existing parking lot is eliminated. This vacant Bank of America building lies adjacent to a privately owned parking lot used only to house overflow guests out to see a show at the Strand Theatre. Strategies looking to transform the vacant lot would need to ensure the location of overflow parking elsewhere. Design strategies could limit themselves to a pure restoration of this historic building, or could extend to encompass the scarcely used lot.

The proposed site. 123

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Parcel ID 1301735000 Address 559 Columbia Road, 02125 Owner Cre JV 5 Branch Holdings LLC Lot Size 10,570 sf Total Value $589,127 Land Use Commercial Land

Parcel ID 1301743000 Address 555 Columbia Road,02125 Owner First National Bank Lot Size 8,251 sf Total Value $1,323,000 Land Use Commercial



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Site Two Uphams Corner This site is meant to include access to and adaption of parts of the Stand Theater in order to generate more use of the Strandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lobby during non-performance times. Physical synergies with the Strand Theater should also extend to arts programming and a business strategy that can leverage the influx of people for theater events. Integrating District Commons with the Strand will also invite more creative district-wide parking solutions.

The proposed site. 125

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Parcel ID 1301742000 Address 543 Columbia Road, 02125 Owner City of Boston Lot Size 24,533 sf Total Value $7,514,800 Land Use Exempt



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ARCH 7130: District Commons  

Strategies for Enriching the Third Place

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