2015 has become the year for encouraging widespread involvement in community revitalization. Will Boston be the first city to enlist the their communities to form a future of prosperity, sound public investment and healthy living for all? No matter where you live, tease your brain the same. Take a moment to clean your thought palate and imagine the year 2030. How do you picture success for yourself, and for your community? Boston has encouraged the entire city to brainstorm and share. Imagine Boston 2013 is an initiative to engage Bostonians in transforming the city and setting a prosperous course for future generations. How much of their model could be applied to other cities?
50 Years Starts Now
Collaboration between Mayor Walsh, City of Boston agencies, and community members has formed Boston’s first citywide plan in 50 years. Creative community revitalization is quickly becoming this east coast community's norm and the public is grasping the opportunity to be involved. Why start a 50 year project now? The answer to the “Why now?” question is: momentum. Boston is in the middle of a building boom. 50 years may seem like a long time to an instant gratification generation. Imagine Boston 2030 is predicted to effect positive and measurable progress in just over 2 years with the following plan:
|Summer/Fall 2015||Baseline Conditions|
|Fall 2015 – Winter 2016||Vision, Principles & Goals|
|Spring 2016 – Fall 2016||Alternatives Development & Plan Framework|
|Fall 2016 – Winter 2017||Draft Plan Development|
|Winter/Spring 2017||Draft Plan Public Review|
|Summer 2017||Final Plan Preparation & Adoption|
What role does the public have in this community revitalization?
HR&A Advisors, and Utile Architecture And Planning have been selected as the consultant team. This Boston Redevelopment Authority team is meant to collaborate with other city organizations and community members to develop and carry out the plan. We know how powerful passionate community members can be. I wonder who will lock onto a certain aspect of this community revitalization project and stir up passionate camaraderie? This is an environment ripe for a crowdfunding campaign to broaden the budgetary constraints of limited government funds. It is in the city’s best interest to encourage and empower neighbors to get involved because expertise and resourcefulness is woven through out Boston's history and current community. Get ready, crowd. Here are the areas that need to be addressed:
- Environment & Adaptation
- Parks & Open Space
- Prosperity and Equity
- Arts, Culture & Creativity
- Land Use, Design & Placemaking
- Health & Safety
Related: Boston Wins Rockefeller Award
Back To The Future
While looking forward to the year 2030, I asked myself “Where will I be in 2030?” Unless there is a Back to The Future machine devised, some of us should actually be asking “Will I be in 2030?” Fortunately, the Imagine Boston 2030 team considered this and enlisted youth, who will actually be more fruitful firecrackers in 2030. Designers, City officials and Over 100 high school students gathered to brainstorm. There were be few people more passionate about the year 2030 than the children who knew it would frame their future. Conversations buzzed and pizza induced youthful people posed some very valid questions. Some asked why they couldn’t have free transport passes to get out of their neighborhoods during the summertime, because they are hot, dull and dangerous. Others wanted to know why there were no community centers that weren’t centered around old farts. Architect and Urban Planner, Tamara Roy, asked what the students how they would design a community center. Within moments pizza stained paper plates, well-used plastic cups and clever banter formed a three-story community center. Passion, empowerment and desire flowed as they created the Love Is Peace Community Center, equipped with a stage for music, and other expression. Roy listed more community center requests: “A flower garden. A gym that could double as a dance floor. A sunny lounge for hanging out, reading, and studying.” And the request that made my heart stall for a moment: Four doorways, so that gangs on one street couldn’t stop kids from entering on the other side. The youth, who need much themselves, didn’t stop at planning with their own needs in mind. The crowd-thinking collective even presented ideas for sustainable housing for the homeless, equipped with vegetable gardens and solar power. I look forward to the day we present the concept of crowdfunding to such freshly innovative minds.
You can get involved.
It is suddenly much easier to imagine Boston in 2030. We are watching the future of a nearly 400 year old city unfold, through collaboration with Bostonian public. Anyone can get involved or share your vision. This 50 year plan is a fascinating encouragement to investment in the growing communities of a city on the rise. I think we'll see more real estate investment opportunities, start up companies inherent to renewed economic faith. Sign up to receive regular updates.
If you were to invest in a city, would a city with such an upward plan catch your investing interest? What project would you crowdfund?