Design Director - Landscape Architecture/Urban Design Stantec's Urban Places Boston, MA
Newton, MA voters recently endorsed Northland's plan for a walkable, higher density, park-rich suburban center to replace "Marshall's Plaza”. This plan represents a model for charting a suburban future that integrates key pandemic lessons learned (importance of healthier communities, desire for cleaner and clearer air that results from driving less—and renewed love for green places to work, need for more robust measures) with the steps we need to take to adapt to fundamental forces that continue to reshape cities and suburbs alike: • Demographic shifts creating unprecedented demand to live and work (including “tele-workers”) in walkable downtowns and neighborhoods (particularly among better educated—and more affluent—households). • An aging workforce and booming knowledge economy creating unprecedented competition for increasingly scarce talent—which seeks walkable downtowns and neighborhoods to live and work. • Emerging new mobility paradigms (shared, connected, and soon autonomous mobility) will strongly favor downtowns and closer-in urban neighborhoods.
Determine the housing density required to support a block of suburban "Main Street" retail and unlock genuine walkability.
Establish a shared parking strategy that reduces development costs for mixed-use suburban development and anticipates reduced parking demand associated with emerging mobility technologies.
Plan, program and design a suburban public realm that meets the needs and aspirations of an increasingly diverse suburban population (measured by age, race, income, ethnicity....).
Make the case to a politically active suburban community that a higher density, walkable, mixed-use--and park-rich--center will enhance quality of life as well as housing values and build fiscal value.