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Boston Public Realm Plan

Rethinking Boston spaces

Boston, Massachusetts

In a time of dwindling public resources, Placemaking for Mobility shows policymakers and citizens how to implement innovative public space improvements. It’s a product of our partnership with the non-profit group A Better City to advocate a higher-quality public realm in Boston, and it’s part of the City’s Go Boston 2030 transportation planning process.

Mobility—or “getting around the city”—is the main way most city residents experience the public realm. As they move through the city, people interact, express themselves, do business, and build community. Yet transportation planning often focuses on the movement of people more than the experience of mobility.

To change that, we turned to placemaking, an approach to planning and design that focuses on enhancing the experience of a place. Often beginning with small-scale, strategic improvements to public spaces, this approach can help make a place express local culture, brand a neighborhood, and make the city more fun (and attractive for investment). It can also bring together diverse groups of people who might not interact otherwise.

The City of Boston is collaborating with our partnership to pursue several demonstration projects across the city, and in the coming years, our framework for evaluating placemaking will help improve communities and share these concepts all around the country.

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