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Workshop 19


BostonAPP/Lab Notes from June 23, 2015


The City as Art: Urban design catalyst for art in public places


Boston APP Lab = Collaborations to support art in public places by addressing various issues and challenges.


Please find past secessions notes from previous workshops online.


Action Item: Collect ideas and make proposal to New Urban Mechanics and Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture


Presentation by Rob Trumbour, Wentworth Institute of Technology Associate Professor of Architecture, and his students

  • Introduced his previous students to present their Thesis work.

    • Approaches to civic innovations: examples, results, and emerging principles in practice.

  • His studio for master’s students on How space helps create the constructed object

  • The studio starts with a Trips to NYC, Big Bend National Park, and views the work of Donald Judd


Thesis One

  • Master’s student translations of what happened in places visited

  • Final image summarizes what they took back: emerging and remote, scalelessness and edgelessness.

  • Thesis explores how you can get lost in a landscape

  • Concept was translating the scale of perception and how it is lost in larger landscapes

    • How do we organize a space when a space is a perceptual field?

  • Build-out of modules

    • To create triangular structure.

    • Creating different areas and boundaries.


Thesis Two

  • Thesis related to graffiti art as the true embodiment of a culture

  • Choose building with high visibility in East Boston


Thesis Three

  • Two connections

    • The city to the waterfront and the person to his/her location. 

    • Language of how people relate to the environment around them.

    • Provide a map at the start of the project.

  • Emerald Necklace linkage.

    • Providing small pavilions for events or discussion.

    • Pavilions create their own sound.

    • Identical pavilions.


Thesis Four

  • Art and function in architecture

  • Site creates its own rooms.

    • Space begins to be made by the existing conditions.

    • Abstract site mappings.

    • Created a series of interventions that the site already began to form itself.

    • Pragmatic elements abound for performances.

  • Interventions take on the look of pavilions.

  • Student has designed performance spaces.

    • Spaces like this allow for improvisation or abstract performance.

    • Breaking up the uniformity of the underpass.


Presentation by Chris Osgood, New Urban Mechanics

  • NUM and civic innovation: democratizing spaces in the city.

  • Innovation around engagement, economic development.

  • App called "Citizens Connect": could you manage your civic life as an app?

  • 28% thru "Citizens Connect.

  • Participatory budgeting: 12-24 year olds get to vote on where the funds go.

  • HubHacks resolve permitting issues.

  • Physical front door of city: percent of "fabulousness" has increased because of artful interventions.

  • Innovation around education: School buses get backed up on snowy nights. Created an app to see the gps location of kids' school buses.

  • IPads in education system for challenged students.

  • Innovation in Streetscape thru interventions.

  • Parking; outfitting trucks with vehicular side guards for bike safety.

  • Make streets more delightful.

  • Public health and public heart.

  • Innovation and economic development.

  • Affordable and middle income housing by 2030.

  • Run experimental projects that engage and empower residents...and improve the experience of the city...


Increase residence participation

What to do with

  • City Hall Plaza.

  • City Hall.

    • Go Mobil Charrette.


Focus on innovation

  • Daily execution of duties.

  • Innovation to provide better services to citizens.


Funding: Direct City funding, capital budget, grant funding, partner organizations interesting in trying new things.


How can we engage NUM?


What is it a resource for and for whom?


What are the big ideas that came out of tonight’s APP Lab?

  1. We need something with which to engage people at a common level that is fun and that is built on the

    simple quality of a conversation.

  2. Communication does not reach the communities that need them. Where are the lists?

  3. Street Art festival.

  4. Engagement.

  5. Streetscape with a target outcome.

  6. Can artists request a space to create art from the city?


Ideas to implement from tonight’s secession:

  • Contact the Community Liaison. An amazing resource for each neighborhood.

  • Bright side of the road is an installation in Boston: 10'x14' Congress Street. Grand Circle Gallery. How can we install more of these

  • Parklets in Boston.

  • Agency to help artists build their pieces

  • City to help create stages for temporary installations.

  • How to get an "Art Permit" from a city or town? Neighborhood reps are first contacts.

  • Different strategies for street art. Sometimes just do it guerrilla style.

  • How to figure out the stages. Things are not impossible. Let's break it down and to manageable steps and get it done.

  • Trying out temporary installations really does work.

  • Sounds like Tactical Urbanism!

  • Where are we going from here?


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