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Urban Design Workshops

BSA Diagram

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The BSA and the BSA Foundation has launched the Urban Design Workshops program to engage local architects in early stage thinking about major urban design initiatives. The workshops provide a valuable resource to public agencies and major property owners by providing big-picture design thinking to support larger planning and public outreach processes. Modeled on programs such as the National Endowment for the Arts Mayors’ Institute on City Design, Urban Land Institute SWAT team workshops, and the AIA’s RUDAT program, the BSA Urban Design Workshops (UDW) will pull together professional experts to provide a holistic design-focused look at a particular urban area.


2022 Urban Design Workshop

A Quarter More: Exploring Density in Metro Boston

The Boston Society for Architecture (BSA), through its Urban Design Committee, seeks volunteers to work with municipal partners in Boston, Cambridge and Everett to examine possibilities for increased density and the necessary considerations for this growth. Assuming that we need to increase density in our municipalities by about 25% in order to accommodate a growing population, each team will be asked to consider the implications of this increase by itself and to examine how this will impact related issues of walkability and transportation, affordability, economic opportunity and infrastructure needs. What will these changes mean for residents and the neighborhood in the coming five, ten, fifteen, and twenty-five years?

Join us at BSA Space on June 21 from 4:30PM—7:00PM for the Urban Design Workshop Final Pinup. For the three months, four teams have been working with three municipal partners representing Cambridge, Somerville, and Everett to think through and propose pathways for accommodating and encouraging denser neighborhoods. This final pinup invites teams, partners, and the public to participate in a pinup session. Each team will present their work, including possible design interventions and policy solutions!


Past Urban Design Workshops

Beacon Yards Urban Design Workshop

The Beacon Yards Urban Design Workshop was the first in a series of Urban Design Workshops that followed a similar format. Two public presentations took place. The first, on September 16, provided an overview of the workshop objectives. The second, on September 18, presented workshop results. Two interdisciplinary teams, composed of designers from various firms and disciplines and led by Alex Krieger of NBBJ and Kishore Varanasi of CBT Architects, each produced a draft comprehensive plan for the Beacon Yards site that fully leverages the city building opportunities of the proposed interchange realignment. Learn more.


Housing Urban Design Workshop

The second BSA Urban Design Workshop examined Mayor Walsh’s housing initiative that took place March 30–April 2. The site focused on the Dorchester Avenue corridor between the Broadway and Andrews MBTA Red Line stops. This area, identified as one of two of the mayor’s housing development “priority zones,” is characterized by light industrial uses, auto-dependent businesses, and underused parcels. Four design teams each proposed innovative workforce housing on adjacent parcels. Learn more.


Suffolk Downs Urban Design Workshop

The Suffolk Downs Urban Design Workshop was the third in an ongoing series of Urban Design Workshops organized by the BSA Foundation. The workshops’ overall goal was to open up dialogue and stimulate thinking about the design potential of places with particularly significant and compelling opportunities. These workshops provide a valuable resource to public agencies and major property owners by providing big-picture design thinking that supports larger planning and public outreach processes. Learn more.

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