Worcester Arts District Master Plan, Worcester, MA *
The City of Worcester, in partnership with ArtsWorcester and the Arts District Task Force, sought to create an urban design and economic development road map for the revitalization of a half-mile stretch of Main Street between the civic center and Clark University.
- How can a master plan create a new arts district and provide a home for artists and cultural activities?
- What buildings are appropriate for arts and cultural uses?
- How can redevelopment occur without pricing artists out of the district?
- How can the image of the area change through programming of spaces and activities, and attracting new activities and institutions?
- How can the district put Worcester “on the map” to enable it to compete regionally for artists and disposable income?
Challenges were met by fully utilizing the innovative creation of a Cultural Development Officer with the City’s Office of Economic Development to maximize partnerships for implementation of the plan. The recommended expansion of the arts district boundaries to include warehouses and manufacturing buildings ideal for artist studios and creative economy businesses ensured that the required density of artist space was available to create a vibrant arts and cultural district. The team also worked extensively to identify local community partners that could lock in affordability for artists through development and housing programs.
- Recommended expansion of the Arts District boundaries to include historic Junction Shop Manufacturing buildings
- Created four conceptual zones to brand walkable areas of the large district
- Established the concept of “Discover Worcester!” Trail to link stories and history in the district to the larger region
- Identified opportunities and locations for public art and suggested public programming opportunities
- Created strategies and identified potential partners to protect affordability for artists
- Demonstrated potential for 800k SF in redevelopment over 15-20 years, with $35-$40 million in new housing and 600 new residents generating $24 million in new income. The built-out plan could provide $16 + million in new commercial investment, 100 jobs and $2 million in annual retailing spending
Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) “Gold Star” Award
American Planning Association Massachusetts Chapter, Best Comprehensive Plan Award, Honorable MentionClick here for the plan!
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*Community Partners Consultants, Inc.: Susan Silberberg, Senior Associate