Enhancing the Layers of Fields Corner: Past, Present and Future *
Historic Boston, Inc. (HBI) is a non-profit that serves as the developer of last resort for endangered Boston historic properties. Fields Corner is one of the organization’s “Historic Neighborhood Centers.” HBI partnered with the Fields Corner Main Streets organization to facilitate the creation of a neighborhood preservation and revitalization strategy. HBI and Fields Corner Main Streets sought help in directing resources and efforts in the district.
- What buildings and sites of investment will best act as catalysts for future growth and vitality?
- How can uses and programming be prioritized to serve the needs of local residents and businesses?
- How can a revitalization strategy honor and celebrate the past and long-time residents and merchants while acknowledging and serving new immigrant populations in the district?
- What is the best district-wide strategy for improving the internal and external image of Fields Corner?
Challenges were met by identifying key redevelopment sites at the vehicular and transit gateways to the district and by presenting new public open space opportunities in the densely developed Dorchester Avenue commercial corridor. New, low-cost solutions such as LED lighting art at the T Station historic overpass were proposed as realistic ways to celebrate the historic infrastructure in the community while grounding a vision for revitalization in the 21st Century. Development pro forma were created for three key historic structures in the district to lay the groundwork for private investment.
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- Prioritized strategies within the themes of transportation, local economy, and community uses and spaces
- Prepared pro formas for potential development sites to test financial feasibility of redevelopment
- Created a public art lighting project under the Dorchester Avenue Bridge and rehabilitated MBTA gateway buildings at the Fields Corner T station
- Rehabilitated the historic Lenox and Howard Buildings to support economic development
- Focused redevelopment efforts on the Robinson Block and the O’Hearn Moving and Storage Building to support community uses and spaces in the District
- Enhanced public spaces and celebrated community culture through public art opportunities
- Gave voice to historical narratives and to new immigrant populations to enhance the physical history of Fields Corner with the personal history of residents and business owners
* MIT “Historic Preservation, Design, and Development” Practicum: Susan Silberberg and Karl Seidman, Instructors