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Public Space Invitational Forum

Public Space Invitational Forum

On the evening of February 25th, the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics hosted an informal forum to answer your questions about the Invitational. This presentation provides an overview of the Invitational.

New Urban Mechanics

February 25, 2014

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    L I C S PA C E I N V I TAT I O N A L A D V I S O R S Project partners advising on the PSI include City agencies and an outside partner at Design Museum Boston. These organizations will also be part of the review process.
  2. 2012 - 2013 Streetscape Innovation Fund #BostonPSI The Streetscape Innovation

    Fund (SIF) was $1 Million of capital funding used to test new ideas in the streetscape. This included large projects like the artistic lighting of the Northern Ave. pedestrian bridge and the smart parking sensors in the Innovation District. There was also a portfolio of smaller projects.
  3. #BostonPSI The next few slides are examples of SIF projects.

    City Hall To Go is the City’s take on a food truck serving up city services like the ability to pay a parking ticket from the curbside of your neighborhood street.
  4. #BostonPSI In 2012, Boston experienced five cyclist fatalities, four of

    them from large trucks or buses. One response included the installation of sideguards on Public Works trucks to prevent cyclists from slipping under the rear wheel after a side impact. This is an example of something you might not think about with publi space. In our view, it’s an idea that is low cost ($1,200 - $1,800) and can make a big impact on the streetscape.
  5. PHOTO: METRO BOSTON #BostonPSI Parklets are an interesting way to

    activate the street - through programming and passive use. This is also an example of a permanent seasonal application, since it is removed in the winter for snow plowing but returns each year in the warmer months.
  6. #BostonPSI Pulse of the City - public art that plays

    music to your heartbeat. Four of these were installed around the city. Again, this is a relatively low-cost ($5,000 +/- each) installation the evokes the feelings of discovery and wonderment we are seeking.
  7. #BostonPSI Seat-e is a product from the MIT Media Lab,

    a solar bench that charges your smartphone. This project was less than $4,000, is durable, and easily scalable.
  8. #BostonPSI Other than being founded by people with funny hats,

    we have at least one more thing in common with Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love also has a Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics office. Last year, our sister office ran a civic design challenge and received a number of interesting response. It got us thinking about replicating the concept of an “RFP-lite” idea competition for small improvements to public space.
  9. #BostonPSI Boston has a very strong creative community. It’s the

    city of Meds, Eds, and Archs. It has a high concentration of world-class design firms. We have engineers who figured out how to put a highway underground, while using the tunnel they were building to support the highway above. The city also had the first subway train in the nation. We are clearly a city of innovators. The goal with the Invitational is to tap into this creative and engineering talent, and not scare it away with an overly bureaucratic process.
  10. #BostonPSI 33% public 56% streetscape This is an invitation to

    everybody to rethink some of our City’s largest assets. 33% of land in Boston is public. 56% of the land owned by the City is a street or a sidewalk. Plenty of room to play.
  11. #BostonPSI It’s space, not rocket science PHOTO: VIVA VANCOUVER PHOTO:

    DEZEEN.COM PHOTO: FLICKR-CURTIS NEWTON PHOTO: BIKERADER.COM As we move towards designing and constructing more complete streets in the City – that are green, multi- modal, and smart – we know that those streets are more about people than they have been in past decades. There are small interventions that can move us towards this vision of streets for people.
  12. How do we improve the medians and plazas, not just

    in the downtown area, but in our neighborhoods, like in front of the Strand theater? How do we make the places we congregate more enjoyable? How can we soften the space students walk through on the way to school? We are not going to be able to change the polar vortex microclimate of City Hall Plaza with this project, but maybe we make finding the entrance easier. This project is not to replace large capital projects for the building, but aims to rethink small portions of its functionality: wayfinding inside, queuing on the second floor, incentivizing the stairs as a path of travel, and creating spaces to congregate on the 3rd floor are all possibilities.
  13. The Streetscape Boston City Hall RAD (random awesome designs) #BostonPSI

    The PSI has three categories. The Streetscape: Roads, plazas, sidewalks. Both downtown, but particularly out in the neighborhoods as well. City Hall: We are looking for small ideas to improve the interior user experience and places like Fisher Park, where the food trucks gather. This could be the entrance area, the 3rd floor mezzanine, stairwells, and other underutilized spaces. RAD: Designs that defy classification. We aren’t entirely sure what will fit in this category, but collectively we’ll know when we see it.
  14. sense of discovery We want projects to give a sense

    of discovery. With a lot of our efforts on the streetscape - whether it’s Pulse of the City, City Hall To Go, or seat-e - people are simultaneously puzzled, but captivated. And the key point is - people of all ages feel compelled to play or interact with these projects, even if it’s something they don’t understand yet.
  15. build your own adventure But playful projects that surprise and

    delight can also be really useful and provide tangible benefit to the community. Earlier, we mentioned that our sister office in Philadelphia held a civic design challenge that influenced the Invitational. In Philly, Public Workshop build and designed an adventure playground and outdoor maker space with 70 teens at the Smith Memorial Playground. They wanted people to build their own adventure.
  16. Philadelphia City Hall choose your own adventure Public workshop ended

    up winning Philly’s civic design challenge. And they decided to apply their sense of play to Philadelphia City Hall. They’re designing a series of games called “Choose Your Own City Hall Adventure” to help people navigate a complex City Hall.
  17. We also want to touch on something that’s a little

    more practical. You should think about the durability of your project. We learned a lot from Pulse of the City. This is what it looked like when it was launched at Christopher Columbus Park. Shiny and new.
  18. And the next day, it looked like this. Someone stole

    the heart. So things happen. People steal. The weather gets bad. And a lot of it is outside of your control. But we want to see that you’ve thought about the risks and general maintenance of your project. This is the largest roadblock for our Public Works department - getting a maintenance agreement. So when developing your idea, you may want to think about partners in the community who will help your maintain your project.
  19. Now, we just want to go back to one of

    our favorite projects - seat-e, the solar-powered seats that charge your phone. It has four key characteristics that made it successful.
  20. APPLY! bit.ly/bostonpsi We have a simple Google Form online to

    fill. We wanted to make sure the Invitational was very accessible.
  21. POSTERS document the design process renderings of final piece in

    context (note the dimensions!) The most time-consuming part is submitting a poster. You don’t need to submit a physical poster. We just need an image or PDF that you’ll email to [email protected]. We want you to document your design process. How did you come up with your idea? We also want you to provide sketches of the final piece, both on its own and in the context of where you imagine it living. (And it’s important that you tell us about its size and weight!)
  22. Goal to Implement 4 to 6 Projects Finally, the goal

    is to implement 4 to 6 projects. Hopefully, one will be yours!
  23. QUESTIONS? What excites you about this? Question for a specific

    dept? What should we do next? Now, we would like to open it up for questions.