Boston, MA (population 637,000) is home to the “Neighborhood Border Zone” (NBZ), an area set among four neighborhoods, two highways, and a set of train tracks. The Design Museum Boston has proposed creating an outdoor Urban Innovation Gallery in the NBZ in order to create a lab in which to explore the activation and animation of this neighborhood, which is currently targeted for significant development. Working with artists, designers, engineers, planners, and policymakers, the Urban Innovation Gallery would prototype and test solutions encouraging the pedestrian exploration of an area currently avoided and would thus develop replicable models for similarly challenged public spaces.
Starting on July 29, our 3-day urban hack-a-thon will include 20 teams consisting of 4-6 innovators from various industries, including design, architecture, real estate, engineering, technology, and more will gather and each be paired with a neighborhood stakeholder and an urban challenge, for example: economic development, youth, green space, health, housing, public safety, and more. During the 3-day festival teams will brainstorm, ideate, and prototype solutions in full view of our public audience, who will be able to provide feedback in real-time in-person and over social media.
At various points throughout the festival teams will present their progress, and ultimately they’ll present their final prototypes in front of our judges.
While the festival will show how design and innovation can improve the public realm, our goal after the festival is to seek support to fund the ideas of the teams for further refinement and installation in areas around Boston to further achieve our mission.
Project partners include: GTI Properties, MassDOT, Mayors Office of New Urban Mechanics, Washington Gateway Mainstreet, Boston Architectural College, Collective Next, Microsoft, Viber, MOO, Autodesk, and Massachusetts Cultural Council