Two Squares, One Place: A Strategy Plan for Hyde/Jackson Square Main Streets *
Hyde/Jackson Square Main Streets is a vibrant, diverse commercial and residential district facing many changes. New commercial and residential development and rapidly changing demographics resulting in residential and commercial gentrification have presented numerous challenges for the community. In addition, the length of the district, with two distinct “squares” creates a disjointed image with little cohesive qualities.
- How can the district’s businesses serve existing populations and also thrive in the context of changing demographics?
- Can the disparate nature of the district—two distinct “squares,” a combination of commercial and residential buildings, mom and pop stores and larger chain development—be united in a successful overall Main Streets brand?
- Is it possible to celebrate and protect the diversity and affordability of the district by recruiting and supporting businesses that serve the strong representation of Latino, non-Latino White, and non-Latino Black populations living in the community?
- How can the pending redevelopment of Blessed Sacrament Church and Jackson Square best serve the public space and commercial needs of Hyde/Jackson Square and helped define a positive, inclusive image for the district?
Challenges were met by conducting demographic and sales gap analyses to understand the relationship between existing businesses and the changing face of the community. Opportunities were identified for the capture of a significant sales gap: non-Latinos were mostly shopping outside of the district and Main Street offerings did not include many entertainment, clothing and other comparison retail businesses. The team also spent time interviewing merchants and residents to help inform a strategy to unify the ¾-mile long commercial area. A vibrant marketing brand was established as “Two Squares, One Place” to allow the Main Streets organization to highlight the diverse and colorful nature of the district. Finally, the team identified positive ways the client could manage change by suggesting business mentoring programs, joint marketing campaigns and crime prevention programs.
- Created new brand and slogan for the district: “Two Squares, One Place” that celebrates the diversity and size of Hyde/Jackson Square Main Streets and transforms and challenge into a positive marketing message
- Designed a street furniture and landscaping plan for the district and identified traffic calming measures to enhance the image and pedestrian-friendly qualities of the district
- Created marketing materials for the Main Streets organization to kick-start the promotion of the district’s new image
- Identified key areas for new investment to catalyze development and support vibrant street life and a robust mix of businesses and open space
- Identified locations for informal markets and pushcarts to support micro-businesses and encourage diversity of commercial enterprises
- Suggested a range of strategies to help the Main Streets organization increase capacity and implement the plan
American Planning Association AICP Student Project Award for Application of the Planning Process
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MIT Class Info
* MIT “Revitalizing Urban Main Streets” Practicum: Susan Silberberg and Karl Seidman, Lecturers