Somerville is one of the most livable cities in America. Our great neighborhoods offer a range of housing opportunities, easy access to job centers and public transportation, and a vast network of cultural and recreational resources. Best of all, our city is full of thoughtful, engaged residents-- our success is the result of collective action to improve the community we care about. Somerville by Design continues this tradition.
In April 2012, the City adopted a new Comprehensive Plan for the City,streetscapes called SomerVision. The SomerVision plan includes six key implementation steps. One of those steps involves the development of design-based plans for future Green Line station areas and that enhance connectivity to, from, and between them. Another involves the overhaul of the Somerville Zoning Ordinance to bring it in-line with SomerVision goals for station-area development as well as neighborhood conservation.
The Somerville by Design initiative will implement these key SomerVision strategies. It is funded in part by a grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities program.
East Somerville and Davis Square Neighborhood Planning
SomerVision, the City of Somerville's official master plan directs us to conserve our great residential neighborhoods, enhance our funky squares and commercial corridors, and transform opportunity areas on the eastern and southern edges of Somerville. To achieve these goals, SomerVision directs the City and its partners to prepare neighborhood plans that are grassroot-generated, and oriented around physical design. The process is called "Somerville by Design".
East Somerville and Davis Square are currently developing neighborhood plans. More information about the Davis Square process is available here. More information about the East Somerville process is coming shortly, so check back soon.
The Somerville by Design Complete Streets series will focus on exploring and illustrating what a network of improved multimodal streets around the city could evolve over the coming years. Complete Streets design includes both an emphasis on encouraging sustainable modes like walking and biking as well as increased safety and efficiency for all users. The series features livable transportation expert Ian Lockwood who will explain how complete streets work and why they are a vital to Somerville’s future as a great place to live, work, play and raise a family. Attendees will have an opportunity to explore options and provide input, which will range from spot improvements to larger scale network visioning.
Station Area Planning
The MBTA Green Line is being extended to Somerville, and our residents and business owners have a unique opportunity to make the neighborhoods around the Green Line stations more accessible and more attractive. A series of urban design plans for Gilman Square, Lowell Street/ Magoun Square and Ball Square were developed between October 2012 and January 2013. Click on the documents to the right to learn more.
Zoning Code Overhaul
A new “Somerville by Design” code will work with residents, the business community and our elected officials to create a zoning ordinance for the 21st century: one that helps us conserve our great residential neighborhoods and encourage investment in areas that are well-suited for new growth. Click here for more information.
Winter Hill / Magoun Square
Winter Hill and Magoun Square are two of Somerville’s most historic mixed-use districts, but both have experienced prolonged periods of disinvestment since commuter rail and streetcar transit were eliminated during the mid-twentieth century. Click here to learn about the Central Broadway Initiative and related planning study.