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
There is a great shortage of housing throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. While there is no single solution that will address this critical issue, one thing is for certain: each municipality needs to work on building more housing. Density, in of itself, is not a one-size-fits-all solution and can run the risk of further entrenching systemic issues of equity and sustainability. The role of designers and planners in advocating for healthier neighborhoods through densification is an essential component of building better urban spaces. This workshop, hosted by the Boston Society for Architecture (BSA), through its Urban Design Committee, matched volunteers with municipal partners in Boston, Cambridge and Everett to examine possibilities for increased density and the necessary considerations for this growth. What will these changes mean for residents and the neighborhood in the coming five, ten, fifteen, and twenty-five years?
Past Urban Design Workshops
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.
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.
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.