Skip to main content
Start of main content

Northland Needham Street Master Plan

Turning a strip mall into walkable village center

  • 1M

    Square Feet

  • $500M

    Construction Value

  • Newton, Massachusetts

    Newton, Massachusetts

We helped plan a modern interpretation of Newton’s historic commercial villages

Northland Investment wanted to reinvent a classic strip mall in Newton, Massachusetts, an older suburb of Boston. The developer asked for an urban design strategy that would make the site a focal point for the area around it—a destination with a strong sense of character. We didn’t have to look far for a good model: historic commercial villages throughout Newton. Built before cars, they embodied just the right scale for walkability.

Our plan replaces all the buildings on the site except for a 19th-century mill building. Walkable new development wraps around the historic mill, adding more than a million square feet of stores, offices, and multi-family housing. Tying everything together—and giving the new development strong “curb appeal”—is a carefully-planned Main Street defined by a public realm of active sidewalks, accessible bike paths, and a landscaped square designed and programmed to serve as a new community hub.

Our work brought the project in line with the city’s goals for design, density, and mix of uses while creating maximum value for our client. Moreover, it gives Northland a model it can use across the U.S. for redeveloping larger sites in urban neighborhoods.

Meet Our Team

David Dixon, Vice President, Urban Places Fellow

We help communities manage change to become more livable, equitable, and resilient.
David Dixon Vice President, Urban Places Fellow Read More

Wei Jin, Urban Designer

My design focus: people and the sense of place and environment. Integrate physical design solutions with social aspects and natural systems.

Anushree Nallapaneni, Urban Designer

I enjoy graphic visualization of design ideas and urban data analysis and strive to incorporate innovative approaches in my work.

Jeff Sauser, Associate, Planner

As a planner and urban designer, I enjoy the opportunity to make a difference in communities across North America.

David Dixon

Vice President, Urban Places Fellow

Wei Jin

Urban Designer

Anushree  Nallapaneni

Urban Designer

Jeff Sauser

Associate, Planner

We're better together

  • Become a client

    Partner with us today to change how tomorrow looks. You’re exactly what’s needed to help us make it happen in your community.

    Contact Us
  • Design your career

    Work with passionate people who are experts in their field. Our teams love what they do and are driven by how their work makes an impact on the communities they serve.

    Join the Team
End of main content
To top