Making Over Boston’s City Hall, One Tweet at a Time

Boston’s City Hall Plaza (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh echoed yesterday a sentiment shared by many Bostonians: City Hall’s sprawling, barren, shadeless outdoor plaza needs a makeover. Instead of handing the project over to a starchitect, however, Walsh has first asked citizens to offer design suggestions by writing in or tweeting with the hashtag #CityHallPlaza.

The L-shaped, 200,000-square-foot plaza of solid-surface space welcomes between 20,000 and 30,000 people a day, and though it has hosted large city events such as World Cup viewing parties and outdoor music festivals, Walsh thinks the convenient downtown space can be utilized much more effectively with input from residents.

“Mayor Walsh wants City Hall Plaza to be an inviting and attractive forum that is robustly used by residents and visitors,” the Mayor’s office said in a statement. “It should contribute to the vitality of City Hall and the surrounding neighborhood. It should attract people to spend time on the Plaza relaxing, watching entertainment, participating in educational or cultural or athletic activities, enjoying their lunch, and just generally enjoying the Plaza. The Mayor welcomes any ideas that further these goals from leasing to designing to curating and any other public-private partnership.” (Philadelphia’s recent City Hall makeover was one of the largest public-private partnerships undertaken in that city to date.)

The Boston plaza is in a pivotal location, with direct access to several MBTA lines. Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market shopping are nearby, and the North End and Beacon Hill neighborhoods are in walking distance.

Though the Mayor’s office posted an official RFI, the Twittersphere has already offered quite a few design ideas — from helpful to less helpful.

Boston’s NPR station 90.9 WBUR noted this is a big change for Walsh who, as a mayoral candidate in 2013, proposed to sell City Hall and its plaza to a private developer, saying the sale would generate up to $150 million for the city.

 

Room of the Day: A Sanctuary for Mom (8 photos)

“What’s so great about this project is that the homeowner wanted to do something for herself; so often women and mothers don’t ever get around to that, and it’s important,” says interior designer Kelly McGuill. After a big life change — her eldest daughter’s leaving for college — her...

 

“Changing of the guard” as more senior staff step down at Royal College of Art

Ab Rogers

London's Royal College of Art has been hit by more senior staff changes, with Ab Rogers (above) stepping down as head of the Interior Design programme, Clare Johnston retiring as head of Textiles and Jeremy Myerson departing as head of research institute the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design. (more…)

 

Best Practices: Time Management

BP-TimeManagement-HERO.png A mixture of meticulous planning and some simple tech tools can help manage the workflow of your team so the firm can stay on pace with its projects without its employees working excessive overtime.
 

On the market: 1970s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA

1970s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA
۱۹۷۰s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA

I think we should know about this place really, but all we do know is that it’s a 1970s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA.

1970s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA
۱۹۷۰s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA

But the images (as is often the case) tell us pretty much all we need to know. The house dates to 1971, offering modernist living that’s almost hidden away in the rocks and the greenery of its location. According to the agent, it is ‘nestled in the woods’ of Hidden Meadow, almost blending into its surroundings too. That only adds to the appeal for us.

1970s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA
۱۹۷۰s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA

Inside the accommodation still maintains its original period charm and (we would guess) the architect’s vision, but it has been updated too, not least with the bedroom space and the bathrooms.  The kitchen too, but that looks to be more of a mix of the old and the new to us.

1970s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA
۱۹۷۰s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA

Anyway, open spaces, high ceilings, full-height glazing and around 1,716 sq. ft. of living space. That includes three bedrooms and three bathrooms, along with reception space plus a living room with wood-burning fireplace and front access to an outdoor sitting area overlooking the surrounding oak trees. A nature lover’s paradise we would guess.

1970s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA
۱۹۷۰s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA

More images on the listing and if you fancy it, the asking price is $469,900.

Images and details courtesy of Zillow. For more images, the agent listing and to contact the agent, please visit the website.

1970s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA
۱۹۷۰s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA
1970s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA
۱۹۷۰s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA
1970s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA
۱۹۷۰s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA
1970s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA
۱۹۷۰s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA
1970s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA
۱۹۷۰s modernist property in Escondido, California, USA
 

Wild Birds Transform a Woman’s Garden and Life (20 photos)

On September 27, 2013, at 4:50 p.m., what Sharon Sorenson saw outside of her kitchen window made her breathing stop and her hands shake. To most of us, it would look like a small gray bird with touches of yellow. To her it was a vision bordering on the miraculous. Sorenson, who lives just outside of...

 

vitra design museum presents the african architecture of independence


the photography exhibition showcases the connection between african modernism architecture in the 1960s and the political events alongside.

The post vitra design museum presents the african architecture of independence appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.

 

Obama Gets Nod of Thanks for Streetcar

President Obama addresses the National League of Cities on March 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

“President Obama is a great friend and ally to America’s cities,” Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker said before the President’s address to about 2,000 city officials and delegates at the National League of Cities 2015 Congressional City Conference yesterday.

Becker went on to thank the Obama administration for the $26 million TIGER grant that fueled Salt Lake City’s streetcar. According to the Mayor, the line, which opened in December 2013, “spurred over $400 million in private development.”

“President Obama helped America’s cities rise from the ashes of the Great Recession, build transit and roads, protect the health of our residents and improve the lives of our young people,” Becker said in his introduction of Obama. “In Salt Lake City, his administration’s focus on city investments have benefited us directly, with support for energy efficiency, housing, recreation and a streetcar.”

During his speech, Obama announced a new program called Tech Hire to encourage U.S. employee readiness for high-tech jobs. The effort includes $100 million in grants for training.

“We’re in a good spot to take advantage of not just next year or the year after but decades to come,” Obama said regarding job growth and the declining unemployment rate. “We’ve got to keep positioning ourselves for a constantly changing global economy.”

Obama stressed the need for building a “pipeline of technology workers for this new economy,” noting that the need for technologically skilled workers goes beyond innovation hubs such as Silicon Valley and Boston. According to a recent Brookings report, some cities are doing better than others at making sure they have enough tech-ready job-seekers to fill openings.

“The truth is that two-thirds of these jobs are in non-high-tech industries like health care, manufacturing or banking,” Obama said. “There is no industry that has not been touched by this technology revolution.”

 

coast cycles unveils quinn cargo bicycle at SingaPlural 2015


the bike, which is exclusively previewed at SingaPlural 2015, features a space built into its frame, allowing commuters to place their bags within an ergonomically designed cage.

The post coast cycles unveils quinn cargo bicycle at SingaPlural 2015 appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.

 

Detroit Is Taking the Lead in the Community Benefits Movement

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Detroit is looking to become the first city in the country to require that developers invite community members to the table when negotiating megaprojects. City council is looking to pass a community benefit agreements ordinance in the next few weeks.

For new projects with an investment of at least $15 million, expansions or renovations of at least $3 million, or projects seeking at least $300,000 in public tax subsidies, developers would have to create legally binding documents guaranteeing jobs or quality-of-life protections for the community that is going to be impacted by the development.

Rashida Tlaib first advocated for mandated CBAs while serving as a Michigan State Rep. Since leaving office in January, she’s been fighting opposition to such an ordinance as the community partnerships and development director for the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice. I spoke to Tlaib about what impact this could have on Detroit and for other cities that might take their lead.

When did you first start thinking about a community benefit agreements ordinance for Detroit?
I want to say, eight or nine years ago with the announcement of a new international bridge crossing into Canada. That’s the first time I started hearing the words “community benefits agreement.” A billion-dollar, massive transportation project that was going to be landed in one of the poorest, most challenging neighborhoods, Delray. Many of the community residents had recognized that saying no to the projects wasn’t working anymore and trying to get a seat at the table would be a better option.

Rashida Tlaib

Our public resources and our land in the city of Detroit is extremely precious. As we move forward — knowing that our politicians come and go — how do we make sure that there’s an embedded process no matter who the leadership, no matter who is elected, that there is this process within that always has the community be part of those discussions?

Which benefits are you hoping CBAs will guarantee?
Jobs are obviously at the heart of conversation. But, I hear people talking about air quality, crime and public safety. Can the stadiums explore their public safety and policing beyond the hockey stadium?

Every time I think about a community benefits agreement for the bridge specifically, I think about it being a model bridge that is going to have an air quality program or a volunteer program to get trucks retrofitted. One of the things I heard residents ask is, “Rashida, for the money that they’re getting for the land, could they get bus covers?” Those are the kinds of basic needs that a community who is going to have large transportation pressures are thinking about.

The problem though, is that people think that we’re actually asking for swimming pools and golf courses when we’re not.

What are your hopes for the next steps of getting the ordinance passed?
It sounds like in the next few weeks, we’re going to have some movement on it. According to Council President [Brenda] Jones’ office, we will pass an ordinance that will be current law in the city of Detroit for various projects, depending on the triggers.

Do you hope that the fight for a citywide ordinance in Detroit will empower other cities to follow your lead?
Absolutely, I think there’s already this national movement going on with communities creating the movement and getting their city council members to use it as leverage. What I’ve found nationally is there seems to be more pull from various community folks. You see it in San Francisco, you see it in Pittsburgh, and we’ve seen it happen and be extremely successful.

We could have gotten a community benefits agreement with the hockey stadium. There were three votes that went before city council. They could have decided to set aside that vote until that mega-billion-dollar company agreed for a community benefits agreement and negotiated for a community benefits agreement with the residents and the host community and neighborhood, and they did not do that.

We are embedding it into a Detroit ordinance, [because] I think it was just critical. I think Council President Jones hit it on the head when she said, ‘Look, when I’m gone, I want something in place so we’re not always relying on trying to reeducate people that are coming into office.’

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

 



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