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Union Square Development

Maintaining character

Sommerville, Massachusetts
  • HYA Architecture
  • Nelson Nygaard
  • Gilbane

Years before the new light rail train service would join Somerville’s Union Square to Boston, city officials began thinking. They wanted to use the redevelopment of key parcels near the station to jump-start high-quality development in the neighborhood.

Our team took to the streets of Union Square, a diverse, energetic, and funky community, to get a read on its unique look and feel. We ran workshops that brought developers and community members together, starting a conversation about how redevelopment could create jobs at all skill levels, slash environmental impacts, and increase revenue to the city—all while keeping Union Square fun, affordable, and distinctive.

The plan uses mixed-income housing to retain the residents, making sure they can stay in the square. It adds mixed-use buildings to generate the type of activity that supports new and existing businesses. And it puts local artists in charge of street furniture, public art, and signage. These strategies and more will make sure the flavor of Union Square remains as distinctive as its signature maple-bacon doughnuts. 

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