SomerVision calls for design based area plans for each neighborhood, station area, and commercial corridor across the city. These plans focus at a level of detail that is not possible in a city wide plan. They also help inform the city wide zoning overhaul. In the past, planning has too often relied on a model of decide, announce, and defend, where consultants decide about the future of a community, present it in a meeting to the public and seek to defend their position. Somerville's neighborhood planning efforts are unique in the way they engage the community. They are built upon a collaborative process in which community participants, city staff, and consultants work together to identify and prioritize policies and development strategies The Somerville by Design process flips traditional planning on its head, with a focus on outreach, dialogue, decide, and implement. The process involves interactive meetings and quick feedback loops; ideas and plans are constantly refined to reflect community input.
OSPCD has published plans for the Lowell Street Station Area, Gilman Square, and Inner Belt/Brickbottom. Planning for Union Square, Winter Hill, East Somerville, and Davis Square are in progress. Check out somervillebydesign.com for more information.