Client: Current and Future Residents of Highland Park
Landscape Architect: Jessica Leete
Year Designed: Current, Ongoing
Focusing on creative development of city-owned parcels, this project is an ongoing entrepreneurial and speculative exercise in collaboration with a neighborhood stewardship committee, non-profit organizations, the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Department of Neighborhood Development. One of our key roles as designers has been to facilitate a process and develop tools for community participation and engagement in the development process. We therefore had to ask challenging questions. How can we, after seventy years of mass consumer capitalism in America, balance economy, equity and the environment in sustainable development? How do we define what that is? What are the metrics we use to assess results? Sustainable development will require that we hold the economic dimension to a level of permanence by making lasting investment in a community beyond providing only for immediate need. Sustainable development will require commitment in support of a shared community that connects those with less economic power to a wider economy while protecting the environment, protecting the verdant home that in the 1980’s was the fire capital of the country. Given these challenges, we have had to facillitate community goals by understanding the development feasibility of a wide range of housing targets and mixed-use opportunities and find ways to bring strategic partners to the table who would be committed to serving the existing community. As the project identifies a network of stakeholders, they have the opportunity to make history through cooperative models that support productive landscape programming, including an urban learning laboratory, public produce, community space, community tables, platforms for ‘pop-up’ entrepreneurial endeavors, and an educational urban farm.