Throughout history, the Dutch have been world famous for reclaiming land and space. Most recently, the Dutch have been leaders in incubating space to create new jobs and creative industries for students, artists, entrepreneurs and startups to flourish. There are lots of best practice cases from Amsterdam demonstrating how the Dutch are able to quickly turn derelict properties into more productive and profitable districts. See: Amsterdam Broedplaatsen (creative industry hotbeds)
To help Boston develop a vision and plan to activate vacant City properties, Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell together with Wentworth Institute of Technology (and other local industry leaders) will organize a high-impact event, learn from the Dutch experience, develop a series of strategies that will identify and analyze underutilized or blighted properties in Boston’s Dorchester and Mattapan neighborhoods and develop short-term solutions to address the issue. These solutions are meant to make connections among people, inspire action, showcase what is possible and heal the urban fabric. This Exchange Lab is a 24hrs hands-on workshop using digital tools and strategies of relevant data collection, applying design thinking, and immersion techniques, and rapid prototyping.
Neighborhoods with the highest concentration of vacant properties are in Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell’s District 4, specifically Dorchester and Mattapan, where many city owned parcels, private parcels, and storefronts have been abandoned over the last 5 to 10 years. In this district alone, local businesses are experiencing a 25% revenue drop due to these vacant storefronts or derelict parcels.
Teams comprised of community leaders, local architectural designers, urban planners, data scientists and entrepreneurs will quickly prototype relevant solutions paving the road to incentivization of investment and ownership, fostering community involvement and documenting/testing suitable pop up solutions.