Selected Projects Will Explore Ways to Help Reimagine Public Spaces in Boston
BOSTON – Thursday, July 7, 2016 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh yesterday evening announced the winners of the City’s second Public Space Invitational, a civic design competition that challenged applicants to conceptualize projects that have the potential to reimagine and enhance our public spaces in Boston. The seven winning projects were selected for their creative use of public space that will have immediate impact, while upgrading the functionality of the public space.
“Public spaces define life in the city, and these ideas bring to life the Boston that is bold, experimental, and empowered to try new things,” said Mayor Walsh. “I thank every person who submitted a proposal to this unique competition, and congratulate the winners who are taking the reins of civic innovation and driving us forward as an innovative and thriving city.”
The Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, in partnership with the Boston Art Commission and the City’s Streets cabinet, launched the competition in February asking participants to submit ideas on how to make civic space, infrastructure, or civic processes more inviting, functional, and fun.
This year’s Public Space Invitational featured three challenges: an analog challenge, a digital challenge, and a bonus challenge.
Analog Challenge: seeking traditional, but scalable and innovative approaches to improve the streetscape;
Digital Challenge: a partnership with Microsoft Technology and Civic Engagement, seeking projects that experiment with technology, sensors and a generally connected world;
Bonus Challenge: a partnership with the MBTA and Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s Matthew Hincman to help a winning team make bus shelters, specifically those at Mattapan Station, more inviting, beautiful, and comfortable.
The seven selected project proposals include:
Location: Boston Day and Evening Academy, 20 Kearsarge Rd., Roxbury
Proposed by: Ethan Vogt, Mihai Dinulescu, Shawn Flaherty, DiDi Delgado
Night Garden is a light installation designed to create a space for evening food and performance events in Boston Day and Evening Academy’s community garden. The project builds off the existing social capital and sense of shared ownership of community gardens, but extends the hours, audience, and activities of those spaces.
In conjunction with community partners, the team will design and install a series of durable, outdoor light installations. The project will culminate with a Harvest Celebration in the fall, where the produce of the garden will be enjoyed within a fully immersive light environment accompanied by poetry performance.
Egleston #StreetMurals #MuralesEnLaCalle
Location: Egleston Square, Jamaica Plain
Proposed by: Luis Cotto, Dorothy Fennell, Sydney Hardin
Egleston Square Main Streets seeks to implement a community-designed street mural at the intersection of Boylston Street and Egleston Street in Jamaica Plain’s Egleston Square neighborhood. This would become one of the City’s first street murals.
The analog project will utilize low-fi technology, paint on the street, combined with an inclusive public art process to transform the roadway into a low-speed corridor, invigorating on-street activity and beautifying the space for residents and visitors alike.
Franklin Street (Allston) Neighborway
Location: Franklin Street, Allston
Proposed by: Mark Chase, Viola Augustin, Tom Bertulis
Using on-street murals, pavement markings and high-quality planters, the applicants intend for a community-led slow street intervention on Franklin St. in Allston to prioritize pedestrian and bicyclist safety.
The Franklin Street Neighborway is intended to serve the hundreds of residents in the Franklin Street neighborhood, and also bicyclists who are looking for a low-stress way to travel between existing bicycle facilities on Western Avenue in Allston and the Harvard Avenue/Packards Corner area.
Proposed by: New American Public Art
New American Public Art’s proposal includes installing a functional, larger-than-life radio in a City park or public space. Public Radio leverages the existing infrastructure of radio to provide the users of Boston’s public spaces with an additional amenity.
The proposal put forth the intent that music encourages movement, creates a sense of place, and provides an opportunity for spontaneous interaction with other people.
The Public Stage
Proposed by: Liat Racin, Matan Mayer, Mariko Davidson, Christina Usenza, Alon Dagan
The proposal will use synchronized light and sound to link to an orchestra’s soundscape through a livestream audio transmission to Boston’s urbanscape. A light display will illuminate the space with attractive colors synchronized in real time to the volume and timbre of the performance.
The project intends to unify people in their appreciation for music, a universal language that transcends social and cultural boundaries.
Location: Mattapan Station
Proposed by: Chris Freda, Ryan Collier, Jhanea Williams, Anthony Lawson
Radiant Forest is intended to transform the Mattapan bus station platform into a dynamic and delightful work of art that celebrates the shelter utility with an array of translucent-colored screens just beneath the glass panels that form the station’s covering. The screens will be designed and printed to evoke the sensation of standing beneath a canopy of trees with green and yellow patterns filtering light. On a sunny day, passengers will be able to look up and see a collage of vibrant glowing leaf-like shapes illuminated from above and filtering light.
The intended effect will both brighten and enliven the Mattapan Station waiting area and create a dynamic mural of light on the station throughout the day and across all four seasons.
Real People, Real Stories: Mattapan
Location: Mattapan Station and/or Bus Stations in Mattapan
Proposed by: Professor and Poet Laureate Danielle Legros Georges and Jennifer Waddell
The proposal includes a series of printed photographs and poems based on interviews with current residents of Mattapan. The portraits and poetic texts would be displayed on digital monitors within or on the exterior of the clear outdoor waiting shelters, or via free-standing outdoor digital media enclosures.
The team will interview approximately 25 Mattapan residents to capture their stories, give voice to those who might not ordinarily speak up and help foster a sense of community within the vibrant neighborhood.
Photographer Jennifer Waddell will create a series of portraits, spending time with each subject order to create as honest a representation of each subject as possible. Poet Laureate Danielle Legros Georges will work with a small team of young writers from the community to interview subjects, edit their stories, and distill the stories into poetic texts.
Public Space Invitational Honorable Mentions
A Monument to Us
Proposed by: Hilary Zelson
A Monument to Us highlights everyday individuals such as students, scientists, and teachers with CNC-cut sculptures.
Proposed by: Zhanina Boyadzhieva, Miriam Roure, Daniella Dasso, Marius Monton, Aitor Alsina
Calm spots intends to create places of reflection and meditation in the city using beacons, a location-aware app, and ten-minute meditation podcasts.
The Sounding Cube
Proposed by: Nettrice Gaskins and Duncan Remage-Healey of Boston Arts Academy and Susan Kilmczack of South End Technology Center
The Sounding Cube is a sound-activated outdoor sculpture.
Proposed by: Gianna Stewart
The artist behind Forever Puddles proposed still mirrored, simulated puddles on city sidewalks.
Gateway to the Greenway
Proposed by: Alex Reisman, Ben Fairbank, and Josh Hasenfus
The team behind Gateway to the Greenway proposed new landscaping and a living mural for Mattapan Station.
About the Public Space Invitational
The Public Space Invitational is part of a continuing series of efforts to engage Boston’s creative community. For more information on the initiative, please visit space.newurbanmechanics.org, join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #BostonPSI, or watch this promotional video.
About the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics
The Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics in Boston serves as the City’s innovation incubator, building partnerships between internal agencies and outside entrepreneurs to pilot projects that address resident needs.
About the Boston Art Commission
First assembled in 1890, the Boston Art Commission advocates for the creation of innovative and transformative art and promotes its accessibility to enrich the lives of Boston’s diverse citizens and visitors.
About the Streets Cabinet
The Streets cabinet includes the City’s Public Works and Transportation Departments. Together, they plan, design, build and manage Boston’s 800 miles of City streets.