Great attendance and energy from Winter Hill residents at Monday’s Visioning session. Roughly fifty neighbors came out to the Healey School, snacked on some pizza, and put some important ideas down on paper that will guide creation of a neighborhood plan. Attendees included many longtime neighborhood activists, as well as lots of folks who are new to the world of community planning. Video coverage from Somerville Neighborhood News (Somerville Community Access Television) is available at this link.
Interactive group exercises got people talking. First, small groups prepared their own neighborhood maps, using trace paper and magic markers to document where things are working well, and where improvements can be made. There were nine groups, and several common themes can be seen on the colorful maps. You can get a flavor of the comments in the images below, and our staff will type everything up into a spreadsheet over the next week or so.
The second activity was to build a photo album. Each small group was given the same stack of 37 photographs. The photos showed different types of street scenes and buildings, some from Somerville, and some from other communities. Participants were asked to mark up these photos, highlighting elements of the scene that they liked or didn’t like. The main question was: is this scene consistent with your vision for the future of the neighborhood? You can see scanned versions of participants’ work below. Over the next couple of weeks, we will transcribe everything and format it in a booklet like the one that was created for the Green Line Station Area Planning Series in 2012.
We learned a lot at the Visioning session, but the really fun part is still to come. From 9:00am to 9:00pm on Monday, October 27th through Wednesday, October 29th, we will be open for public engagement in our storefront design studio at 328 Broadway. Drop-in visits are encouraged, and a temporary public space will be created to draw folks in who might not otherwise participate. We will be scheduling one-on-one or small group sessions with business owners, community organizations and commercial landlords. Plus, one-hour topical sessions will be held to dig a little deeper into the issues that you raised this week – see this example from Davis Square in 2013. Stay tuned for scheduling details.