Egleston Square Inside and Out: Vision and Strategies for Neighborhood Revitalization *
The Egleston Square Main Streets organization sought to support the commercial district of this vibrant and diverse community of largely Latino and African-American residents facing major obstacles in growth and livability.
- What does this community comprised of over 25% of residents under the age of 16 need to thrive?
- How can public space be better designed and programmed to serve the active street life in the neighborhood?
- How can revitalization initiatives overcome the perception and fear of crime, low incomes, and high regional commercial competition to create a roadmap toward sustainability, livability and economic vitality?
Challenges were met by undertaking extensive field work to understand the needs of the residents and merchants in Egleston Square and incorporating these needs into a plan for public space and community within the district. The vision for the Square celebrates the idea of public space both inside (existing business space as community gathering and meeting space) and outside (proposed outdoor cinema space, public art in the public realm, new public gathering spaces), recognizing the multi-cultural identity of the community and the different ways residents and merchants use space and participate in community.
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- Composed initiatives that build on the strength and uniqueness of Egleston Square’s core attributes while connecting it to the greater region
- Supported and acknowledged existing strong businesses to provide a core of strength and stability for change and growth
- Transformed public perceptions using Gateway enhancements, signage improvements and branding initiatives
- Transformed the static public realm into a “moving street” that hosts pushcarts, artwalks, and ethnic festivals and events that pull public life from the inside spaces to the outdoors
- Re-vision the district as a family entertainment center complete with summer outdoor movies, family-oriented fun center and full service restaurants
* MIT “Revitalizing Urban Main Streets” Practicum: Susan Silberberg and Karl Seidman, Instructors