Mobility—or getting around the city—is the main way most Boston 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 improve Boston mobility, 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 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.
We began by evaluating the State of the Public Realm in Boston and examining inspirational ideas for Boston’s Public Realm from other cities. We then created a framework for mobility planning that prioritizes improvements to the social, cultural, and experiential aspects of transportation, which the City of Boston has adopted as part of the Go Boston 2030 transportation planning process.
We are currently designing a demonstration project with the City of Boston to showcase tenets of the Placemaking for Mobility framework that will be completed in 2017.