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Community Impact

Nov 01, 2019

Patio Cafe Pilot Program

Blue nile

Street view of Blue Nile

Image courtesy of BSA Staff

Throughout the month of October, BSA members have been volunteering their time and skills with small business owners in the Hyde Square section of Jamaica Plain.

Led by the Urban Design Committee and in partnership with the City of Boston, Boston Main Streets Foundation, and Three Squares Main Street, this initiative seeks to enhance the public realm in Boston’s neighborhoods and increase business for three small restaurants by helping them add outdoor dining for customers.

The process for getting a patio café on the sidewalk outside a business in Boston can be confusing, expensive and time consuming. These barriers are felt more acutely outside of the City’s downtown where it is rare to see outdoor dining and parklets. In order to better support neighborhood businesses Boston’s Small Business Unit reached out to the BSA for assistance. Through the Urban Design Committee groups of 2-4 architects, engineers and landscape architects met with the owners of the Blue Nile, The Haven, and Old Havana- all in Hyde Square- to give a vision to what their patio cafes could look like. These volunteers will work with the business owners and the City to take these visions through the permitting process and access grants to bring these public amenities to life.

This is only the beginning of the initiative though. The BSA will continue to work with the City to identify opportunities for improvement in the process and places where costs can be decreased to allow for more businesses to create public realm improvements. Vibrant outdoor spaces are an amenity that should be accessible to every neighborhood and the BSA is proud to work with the City to make this happen.

If you are interested in future volunteer opportunities like this, please contact Jennifer Effron at [email protected]