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Davis Square Neighborhood Plan

In the Spring of 2017, we held a series of four meetings discussing the character of Davis Square. The presentations covered places types, developments, and aesthetics. Planners also did a tour of Davis Square with attendees to take pictures of relevant features that expressed the character of the square.

In the Fall of 2017, we held two additional neighborhood meetings. On the first, we sought direct participation from community members to come up with topics regarding Davis Square they feel are important. At the second meeting, participants focused on how they could take action steps towards larger goals.

In the Summer of 2018, we held an additional meeting to review the plan draft and follow up on feedback. We are currently finalizing the plan with the goal of making it available in the fall of 2018.


The Davis Square planning process started in 2013 with a crowdsourcing, visioning session, and three-day charrette. We got some great ideas from that process that we’re carrying forward into our future work with the neighborhood. In 2015, we got the opportunity to work with Gehl Architects to document the public space and life in Somerville. Several spots in Davis Square were surveyed. People LOVE Davis Square (I think we already knew that) and want to see the public realm improved upon. The work culminated in the Public Space Public Life Report. Using that report and methodology we were able to install movable chairs in Kenney Park – it increased Kenney’s stickness (if you don’t get it, read the report)!

In 2016, we brought Gehl back to work in Davis Square on a public realm pilot. In June we shut down the slip lane (that’s a technical term but it’s the turn lane to go from Highland to Elm Street) in front of Mike’s and chair bombed Seven Hills Park with red Adirondack chairs. We collected data and were able to compare it with the 2015 data. In 2015, 11.64 people on average were experiencing the park in a 10 minute period. After the install of the chairs, 21.16 people were experiencing the park over a 10 minute period. Giving people the opportunity to sit and the ability to move their chair to where they find comfort paid off in Seven Hills.


Design Guidelines Meetings

Project Materials

Data Sets

Project Timeline and Materials

Planning History

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