Over the fall 2014 semester, the City of Somerville engaged a team of graduate students in MIT's Community Growth and Land Use Planning workshop, co-taught by Adjunct Professor Terry Szold and Lecturer Susan Silberberg, to prepare a comprehensive plan to guide future development in the Brickbottom area of the city. The impetus of the project stemmed from two large public works projects currently underway: the de-elevation of McGrath Highway's McCarthy overpass into a ground-level boulevard and the construction of the Washington Street Station for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's (MBTA) Green Line Extension.
Eager to develop a plan that both responds to the critical needs of the community and follows Somerville's longstanding tradition of community-driven planning, the MIT team employed numerous public participation efforts to solicit the diverse voices and ideas of the community. The findings and recommendations of this plan are based on a rich analysis of related plans, design concepts, and neighborhood data, as well as numerous visits to the study area, class lectures, and input from two public meetings. To the greatest extent possible, this plan reflects the shared values and visions of community members business owners, and other stakeholders who willingly volunteered their time to help inform this plan.