Managing neighborhood change around new transit stops : community planning over four decades in Somerville, MA
Author(s)Barnard, Samuel (Samuel March)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
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This thesis explores the way in which local government and community advocacy groups seek to influence the extent and nature of neighborhood change around new transit stops. My interest is in how transit investment can be used to ensure economically prosperous and environmentally sustainable communities while avoiding displacement and exclusion of less wealthy community members. I focus on three mass transit projects in Somerville, MA: the Red Line extension to Davis Square in the early 1980s, the addition of the Orange Line station at Assembly Square in 2014, and the Green Line Extension through central and eastern Somerville that is now under construction. I rely on interviews with key stakeholders involved in these planning processes, a review of planning documents, and attendance at ongoing community meetings. These cases demonstrate the critical importance of cities establishing strong, community-supported visions for neighborhood change before private developers are involved. The greatest opportunities for preserving affordability, locking-in anti-displacement measures, and ensuring development supports a high quality and healthy public realm are early in the process. The Somerville cases also highlight the potential for community planning and advocacy to drive the nature of neighborhood change, as well as the tensions that can arise when diverse local stakeholders with differing priorities and internal conceptions of planning and decision-making seek to influence lengthy and uncertain development processes. I propose a City-led, inclusive, and deliberative process for better managing these tensions in future transformative developments in Somerville.
Thesis: M.C.P., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 2018.This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Cataloged from student-submitted PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 94-100).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.