UD Strategies for South Boston

GSD Elements of Urban Design: 1st-Year Post-Prof. Graduate, Fall 2018

Project Type: Master Plan / Urban Design Strategies 

Location: South Boston, Massachusetts

Professor: Dennis Pieprz, Honorary ASLA, Chair of Design, Sasaki

Team Members: Young Lv (MAUD 2020)


Perimeter Public Realm & Extended open core

Seen through at least two core factors, race/ethnicity and residential land use, South Boston’s history and current trajectory is a tale of little diversity. We view this local, yet universally-applicable issue as an exciting opportunity to advocate for and help shape a more diverse South Boston: a neighborhood with potential to better reflect the aspirations of the city and its people.

In order to encourage diversity within the physical context of an underutilized industrial site, we’ve established a boulevard that functions as a primary axis to not only support public and private motor vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians, but also help generate activity in secondary and tertiary public spaces along the path. From the east, we’ve continued the network of perimeter parks and pathways. And from the south, we’ve extended moments of large open spaces and the existing grid.

In effect, these rather simple gestures establish clear public intersections to be further articulated through architecture, public art, temporal venues, and the innumerous activities that could follow. This dynamic relationship among diverse public spaces, buildings, and people reflects more closely the evolving anatomy of neighborhoods in 21st century cities. With this understanding, we hope to inspire others to reaffirm that people and the public realm are critical for ensuring successful urban design.