UA805 Urban Capstone Studies Spring 2018
Green Line Extension (GLX) Plan in Somerville, MA
- Next Stop: A Better Quality of Life
- Parking Requirements in Somerville
- Preservation of Affordable Housing
- Transit-Oriented Development Plan Evaluation
Urban Agriculture in Boston, MA
Urban Climate Communication in Boston, MA
- Equitable and Effective Climate Change Communication
- Marketing Strategies to Promote Bike Ridership
- Prioritizing People
Preservation of Affordable Housing:
Displacement Mitigation Strategies
Abstract: Somerville, a city bordering Boston on the north, has been experiencing a development boom in recent years, where the residents of the historically working class city are experiencing gentrification of their neighborhoods, and in turn, the displacement of existing residents due to increasing housing and rental prices. In the midst of this development boom is the planned Green Line Extension – a massive project that plans to stretch the existing MBTA Green Line subway line into Somerville where most areas are only served by buses, and six new subway stations are planned. Many welcome the Green Line Extension, as it will provide more accessible public transportation for Somerville, as well as better linkage to Boston and beyond. While the benefits of the Green Line Extension are indisputable, we should also be cognizant of the unintended negative effects that the project can have in Somerville, particularly in terms compounding the effects of gentrification and displacement in a city where such is already prevalent. Focusing on the neighborhood of East Somerville – a traditionally working class residential neighborhood without too much gentrification that will be close to one of the planned Green Line stations – we hope to provide strategies and policy recommendations for displacement mitigation for this particular neighborhood. Our strategies will be built from analysis of demographic data, conversations with relevant actors, and review of existing research, with the goal of providing actionable policies that can keep residents in their homes in East Somerville, and making the effects of the Green Line Extension more equitable.
A Union of Plans
Abstract: The Green Line Extension (GLX) is the Massachusetts transportation initiative to extend subway service from downtown Boston to the cities Somerville and Medford. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is committed to improve corridor mobility and boost transit ridership while encouraging smart growth and sustainable development. Somerville has few public transportation options and the GLX is anticipated to impact the area in several different ways. MassDOT has created a redevelopment plan for the future Union Square Station. Three plans were evaluated - the GLX Project Plan, Somervision Neighborhood Plan, and the Union Square Revitalization Plan. The three plans were scrutinized for how well they compliment each other and what the potential is for success of the transit-oriented development as planned. The characteristics of successful transit-oriented development were taken from two case studies, the City of Seattle Implementation of Transit-Oriented Development and the Urban Renewal Plan of Assembly Row (in Somerville).
Research Questions: What makes TOD successful? Can the redevelopment of Union Square mitigate, if any, adverse effects of the GLX?
Parking Requirements in Somerville
and the Green Line Extension and the Green Line Extension
Abstract: Parking has always been a hotly debated topic that reflects the demographic, building, and neighborhood characteristics of a given community. Car parking is a routine yet highly complex part of daily life for both drivers and those affected by parking. Transportation infrastructure, design, and travel behavior all affect the role that parking plays within a community. The presence of technological advances has changed the way that we view parking. This study aims to unravel the effects the Green Line Extension will have in leveraging parking requirements within Somerville. In addition, we will be looking at how certain stakeholders value demand and the way that the building of the Green Line Extension will alter the parking situation in Somerville. The decision to not build any dedicated parking for each transit stop has been a concern of several stakeholders, which will allow commuters the opportunity to drive to different commuter stops and park on side streets. Excess parking encourages more driving, by providing drivers with more available options to park. The price of land in Somerville affects parking requirements. Overbuilt parking lots reduce the amount of land that can be used to generate economic indicators. Ultimately, rather than building parking garages, the excess land can be used for housing and mixed-use development. Minimum Parking requirements have been a mainstay in cities throughout the past 50 years, it is only until now that these requirements are being rolled back to promote more sustainable development. In this study, we will analyze the role that the building of a light rail has had on commuters while also analyzing the effects of eliminating minimum parking requirements. This analysis will allow us to develop policy recommendations to see if the Green Line Extension should be leveraged as a catalyst in reducing parking requirements in Somerville.
A comparative study on effective marketing strategies to improve Boston commuter bike ridership
Abstract: Greenovate is the City of Boston’s movement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020 and to become carbon neutral by 2050, as outlined in the City’s Carbon Free Boston, Climate Ready Boston, and Zero Waste Boston plans. They are tasked to: (1) serve as a central resource for climate and environment information, (2) coordinate collaborations between the community and the City’s policy and program implementation, and (3) act as a community liaison to help create bigger collective impact. The Greenovate team most recently has focused its efforts around promoting coastal resiliency planning due to the topical interest around sea level rising. Considering the city’s second largest carbon emitter is transportation (~25%); this study reviews the opportunity of improved promotion of marketing and communication around bicycle commuting as an effective and low-cost method of reducing carbon emissions and meeting the City’s goal to increase bike ridership from today’s 2% to 10% by 2030.
Marketing Strategies, the Movie
Research Question: Does Greenovate Boston implement best practices in communication when engaging the public?
Conclusion: Greenovate has the power, clout, and potential to connect their values, community needs, and initiatives. Prioritizing People examines other models and recommends best practices based on Boston's strengths.
Plan and Policy Proposal for Urban Agriculture in Roxbury, MA
Research Question: How can a city redevelop underutilized parcels to ensure accessible green space and sustain urban agriculture?
- Create an online platform
- Track and publish outcomes
- Emphasize urban agriculture in climate initiative
Climate Change Communication Strategies for Vulnerable Populations in Boston
Natasha White, Chardline Chanel-Faiteau
Abstract: This project will evaluate the effectiveness of Greenovate's climate communication strategy and how this strategy is helping to mitigate environmental impacts, specifically coast flooding and urban heat islands on the City of Boston's socially vulnerable communities. Greenovate is the City of Boston's comprehensive communication tool that seeks to involve the City's residents in the mitigation of the impacts of climate change. Greenovate intends to equip the City of Boston with knowledge, and communicate the importance of climate change impacts and preparedness.
Next Stop: A Better Quality of Life
Ken Ryan, Wes (James) Turner, John Wendelken
Abstract: This research project will identify and analyze some of the overarching goals for the Commonwealth’s long-planned, $2.3 billion Green Line Extension (GLX) project. Impacts of this investment will be categorized and compared to similar transportation infrastructure projects, both locally and nationally. Through qualitative case studies and quantitative modeling, the expectations and realities of transit investment will be weighed and analyzed in order to provide recommendations for both the short and long-term success of the GLX project.
Boston Youth Urban Container Garden
Goal: To implement a Charter school-based community gardening program in an inner-city Boston Neighborhood. The goal of this program is to establish a symbiotic link between a Boston Charter School student body, teachers, parents and local community garden volunteers to create an Urban Food Garden from initial ground breaking to a thriving crop producing garden.