IB2030 Week Recap: Bostonians from every neighborhood came together to #ImagineBoston
Last month, hundreds of Bostonians from all corners of the city came together over the course of five days for a series of informal talks, walks and rides to discuss and learn about the future of Boston. Imagine Boston 2030 Week was designed to give all Bostonians exclusive access to the initiatives detailed in our draft plan and the City officials who are working to make them a reality. In total, we hosted seven events between November 30 and December 5, from Roxbury to Eastie, Allston to Southie. In case you missed it, here’s a recap of all of the action:
Wednesday, November 30: A walking tour and an education panel to kick things off
To kick off #IB2030Week, we embarked on a walking tour of Dudley Square, one of Boston’s most dynamic neighborhoods. Venturing from Hibernian Hall to the Dudley Cafe, we discussed the area’s evolution and the opportunities to Enhance Neighborhoods with job growth and training, in addition to strategic preservation, affordability, and connectivity.. One participant described the tour as “upbeat and informative; a good mix of interests.” We couldn’t agree more. Even with the rain, Imagine Boston 2030 Week’s tour of Dudley Square was a huge hit!
Later on, residents congregated at the Bolling Building in Roxbury to chat with City leaders about how we can prepare learners of all ages for quality careers and create multiple pathways to success. The “informed and articulate panel” (as one resident described it) fielded a variety of questions on how the City plans to implement a more holistic instructional program across Boston’s school system.
Thursday, December 1 – Generating Networks of Opportunity: Investing along the Fairmount Corridor
Day 2 of #IB2030Week showcased a ride along the MBTA’s Fairmount Line. Leaving from South Station, riders engaged with City leaders on the issues the Fairmount Corridor faces and the how Imagine Boston’s taking action area, Generating Networks of Opportunity, offers some solutions to address them. Participants learned that the City seeks coordinated investments that will expand opportunity for residents by strengthening connections between neighborhoods along the Fairmount line and existing and emerging economic centers, including Newmarket, Widett, Readville and the South Boston Waterfront.
Bostonians take a ride of the Fairmount Line on their way to a walking tour of Readville
Friday, December 2: A Mixed-Use Downtown
The cold didn’t stop a large crowd of city goers from turning out to a comprehensive walking tour of Boston’s high-rise areas on Friday, December 2. Weaving their way through Downtown Crossing, the Theater District, Chinatown, the Leather District, and South Station, residents talked about how these areas have historically evolved and what may be up next. City leaders discussed how Imagine Boston’s vision to Encourage Mixed-Use Job Centers where additional housing and amenities make the commercial core livable, not just workable. Residents reinforced the area’s quality access to public transit and emphasized the need for more quality of life improvements.
Saturday, December 3: Walking Tours from Franklin to Moakley Park; Allston Village to Beacon Yards
#IB2030Week enthusiasts got a good walk in on Saturday as we kicked off the morning with a journey from Franklin Park to Moakley Park. During the walk, City leaders were able to explain their vision to connect Boston’s neighborhoods and open spaces; most readily with the completion of the Emerald Necklace to create a complete system of green spaces by 2030. Jim O’Connell, Ph.D, representative of the National Park Service commented how “eye-opening” the event was. He praised the fact that the proposed Columbia Road Greenway would not only connect the two parks that started and ended the walk, but would create a continuous amenity for the neighborhoods abutting it.
City officials walk with residents towards Moakley Park, explaining the importance of completing the Emerald Necklace
Later in the afternoon, a walk to Beacon Yards from Allston Village turned out a number of Bostonians eager to find out what the future plans for the former rail yard, Beacon Yards, might one day be through the concept of Expanding Neighborhoods . Overall, attendees learned that the surrounding existing neighborhoods would be expanded and enhanced to improve neighborhood vitality, services and affordability. As one Allston resident commented:
“I loved being surrounded by community and walking through the neighborhood/hearing about the emerging projects! Was glad to see Julie Burros [Chief of Arts & Culture] there because the murals in Allston are one of its best attributes.”
Sunday, December 4: A Waterfront for Future Generations
On a crisp, clear Sunday morning, a large group of Bostonians boarded a Boston ferry for a tour of the Boston Harbor to hear about the evolution of Boston’s waterfront. Attendees engaged with City officials by asking about proposals for development and the future of City-owned land in waterfront neighborhoods. Creating a Waterfront for Future Generations showcases all of the ways in which the City of Boston expresses the need for strategic investments in climate protection, open spaces, and new job centers along the water. One East Boston resident described it as an “enjoyable and informative community event” that served as a “great introduction to the climate issues facing the City.”
Monday, December 5: Boston By The Numbers: The trends shaping Boston now and in the future
The final #IB2030Week event brought together Imagine Boston 2030 and the Boston Planning and Development Agency Research Department at the Mattapan Health Center for a joint conversation on Boston’s population trends and what they can tell us about our future as we plan for 2030. In general, Bostonians were fascinated by the rate of in-migration that prove Boston’s population is growing faster than in recent memory.
Overall, we hope that Imagine Boston 2030 Week provided residents with an opportunity to learn more about Imagine Boston’s first draft document, Expanding Opportunity, and to talk Boston’s officials about the future of the City. Expanding Opportunity is a draft and we continue seeking feedback! Please submit your ideas, thoughts, and feedback here!
We would like to thank all of the community partners that helped to make these events possible!
Boston Parks Department
Boston Public Library
Brighton Music Hall
Bruce C. Bolling
Hibernian Hall (Madison Park Development Corporation)
Mattapan Health Center
Mass Bay Lines
We’d also like to thank all of the community organizations that were present and all of the people who participated in this eventful week.
We look forward to your continued feedback as we move toward the 2017 release of the next draft. As always, we ask you to share your ideas and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #ImagineBoston.