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  • COST

    Free and open to the public

As Boston begins thinking strategically about its development throughout the 21st century, cities around the world provide case studies for how to achieve excellent outcomes in urban design and community building. How can great design make Columbia Road a beautiful destination for both locals and tourists? What strategies learned from projects abroad can be applicable here in Boston? How can we enhance the Columbia Road corridor in ways that improve the daily experience of Dorchester residents, unite neighborhoods, and improve movement of people, buses, cars, and bikes?

On May 10, Implementation, the fourth and final event in the series Fulfilling the Promise: Community Building and the Emerald Necklace, will focus on execution strategies for community-driven initiatives.

Panelists will discuss lessons learned from urban design projects both large and small; from tactical short-term strategies to complex public-private partnerships, all of which could benefit Boston’s public realm.

For those who qualify, 2 LUs are available.​



Marie Law Adams AIA, founding principal, Landing Studio

Marie Law Adams AIA is a co-founding partner of Landing Studio, an architecture, design, and research practice whose work negotiates the intersection of large-scale global infrastructure with urban environments. Since 2005 Landing Studio has developed projects with port facilities and infrastructure agencies in Boston and New York by designing shared industrial and public access landscapes, light installations, festivals, exhibitions, and industrial/community operations agreements. The work of Landing Studio has received such honors as an AIA Honor Award in Regional & Urban Design, a Progressive Architecture Award, and the Architectural League Prize, and has been exhibited at institutions including RISD, Parsons, and the City College of New York. Adams is a registered architect and holds a BSArch from the University of Michigan and an MArch from MIT, where she was a Presidential Fellow and recipient of the AIA Medal. She is also a Lecturer in Urban Design in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT.

Andrew Howard, AICP co-founder, Better Block; principal, Team Better Block consulting

One of the leading voices on community revitalization, Andrew Howard is internationally respected for his people focused design approach and rapid-implementation strategies that are being replicated around the world. Andrew co-founded the Better Block project in 2010 with friend Jason Roberts. One year later the pair formed Team Better Block, which has aided in bringing this grassroots revitalization project to over 150 communities in four nations. The project demonstrates how temporary sustainability improvements to a single city block can build momentum for long-term financial, social, and environmental advancements. Andrew’s overarching goal is to equip new leaders to take action in their communities. Before becoming a rabble rouser, Andrew was a transportation planner at Kimley-Horn and Associates and the Houston-Galveston Area Council. He holds a bachelor of Geography degree from Texas A&M University and is a Loeb Fellow of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.

Mark Klopfer AIA, ASLA, principal, Klopfer Martin Design Group

Mark Klopfer, AIA, ASLA is a partner of Klopfer Martin Design Group and Professor of Architecture at Wentworth Institute of Technology. In 2006 he started the Klopfer Martin Design Group, a landscape and architecture design firm that works on projects from the scale of urban centers in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi, to the 2010 renovation of the Shanghai Bund, to public parks, complete streets, and outdoor classrooms for elementary schools in Boston. Before joining Wentworth he taught in the landscape architecture departments at Harvard GSD, Cornell, and RISD. He has a BArch from Cornell University and an MLA from the University of Virginia. He was the Prince Charitable Trusts Fellow in Landscape at the American Academy in Rome 2000-2001.


Matthew Kiefer, director, Goulston & Storrs

Real estate development and land use law is at the core of Matthew Kiefer's practice. He has a particular focus on advancing complex urban projects through the process of obtaining site control and approvals from public agencies. These include market-oriented and affordable housing projects, commercial and mixed-use developments, and facilities and master plans for health care, educational, cultural, and other nonprofit institutions. Matthew has taught in the urban planning programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and at MIT, and has written and spoken extensively on real estate and land use law and policy. He is active in historic preservation, public open space, and land use planning, design, and policy. Additionally, Matthew writes book reviews on land use planning, design and development for ArchitectureBoston magazine, Harvard Design Magazine, Urban Land, and other publications.


Kishore Varanasi, urban design principal, CBT Architects

Kishore Varanasi is an award-winning urban designer, strategist, innovator, teacher, and writer, with a wide ranging influence on both the public and private sectors locally and internationally. His work involves the rejuvenation of downtowns and waterfronts, master planning for urban institutions and new communities, and design of large mixed-use projects. Kishore’s innovative contributions stem from his ability to create viable and sustainable mixed-use neighborhoods converging the interests of residents, government entities and developers, by inspiring creative collaborations and fresh approaches to community building.

Fulfilling the Promise: Community Building and the Emerald Necklace, a program of the BSA Foundation, is sponsored by the Chleck Family Foundation. The series has been organized in partnership with the Boston Society of Landscape Architects, and the Emerald Network initiative of LivableStreets. Other partners include the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and Franklin Park Coalition.

The promise of Columbia Road is long in the making. Intentionally created as one of the widest streets in Boston, this critical connection links Boston’s residential center to one of its greatest assets: the Boston Harbor. After more than a century as a connection primarily for vehicles, serving to divide the residential neighborhoods on either side, it is time to re-think the promise of Columbia Road. How can this road become a focal point for the community and enhance the lives of those living and working alongside it?

Completing this piece of the Emerald Necklace will not only connect residents of Roxbury and Dorchester to Boston Harbor and beyond, but also offer opportunities to improve public health, and create new placemaking moments.

Header image courtesy of NBBJ Boston and LivableStreets