This is the ninth of multiple posts covering all of the ideas generated at the Somerville by Design: East Somerville Design Charrette that was held September 30 – October 2, 2013. We have numbered all of the images so that it is easier to reference them when providing feedback.
Feedback should be provided using the comments section below to facilitate discussion among the entire community of East Somerville for each idea presented. For any further questions, please contact the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development at 617-625-6600.
Somerville is host to some of the highest residential densities in the Commonwealth, yet its 72,000+ residents have the least amount of open space per capita of any city in New England. This limited supply creates competition for use of existing spaces along with huge demand for new spaces. With most of the city built-out long ago, we need to find new and innovative methods to generate opportunities that foster public life in our neighborhoods while continuing to reinvest in the community spaces that already exist. Below are some specific ideas concerning public (ie. “civic”) spaces in East Somerville.
East Somerville is one of the densest areas of Somerville. The neighborhood features multiple existing civic spaces including four playgrounds, two schoolyards, the grounds of the library, and a regional park: Foss Park. To increase opportunities for rest and reflection embedded within the neighborhood, pocket parks need to be considered as civic spaces available for residents of all ages. Dead ends, oddly shaped lots, and vacant parcels can be looked at through a new lens to find opportunities where only forgettable places existed previously.
Civic assets are for the community. Residents of Somerville should be able to enjoy the Library and Foss Park without navigating through a gate or openings in a fence. Community buildings and grounds should be equally accessible and enjoyable, and not separated from the neighborhoods they serve by a barrier to entry.
The Somerville Public Library is already a community gathering place. The grounds should be redesigned to reiterate the library’s mission. The library should be a great place to read a book, meet with friends, or practice another language inside and outside.
Be sure to check out all of the East Somerville idea posts: