Villens, welcome back to Union Square! Participate in our Pop-Up sessions in the Square!
The Union Square Plaza and Streetscape redesign project kicked off this spring and is currently conducting the initial community engagement for the project through a pilot engagement process. The project’s community engagement consultant, Design Studio for Social Intervention (ds4si), will be utilizing Participatory Action Research methods (PAR) with a newly formed Community Design Team (CDT) who aims to broaden and deepen community engagement in the redesign of Union Square’s plaza and streetscapes. After interviewing over 60 applicants, ds4si hired 11 Somerville Community members from diverse backgrounds, who speak 6 different languages and range in age from 16-60+. This team will use participatory action research (PAR) to engage residents who have traditionally been left out of community engagement processes, as well as inviting all community members to imagine and share new ideas for Union Square via pop-up public outreach sessions, focus groups, and more. The team is working with the City of Somerville and the larger design team (led by Toole Design Group) to ensure that community input is reflected and honored in the plans for Union Square.
The CDT will be out in the square this summer to welcome Villens back into Union Square in ways that are site-specific, joyful, diverse, and double as venues to inspire and share new ideas for the plaza and streetscape. The CDT have initially organized three (3) in-person pop-up sessions on Saturday, July 17, 9am – 1pm, at the Union Square Farmers Market; Friday, July 23, 5pm – 8pm (rain date, Friday, July 30, 5pm – 8pm) on the Union Square Plaza; and Saturday, August 7, 11am – 2pm (rain date, Sunday, August 8, 11am – 2pm) on the Union Square Plaza.
The goals of the Union Square Community Design Team are:
- Use participatory action research to empower traditionally left out residents to engage their communities in the redesign of Union Square’s plaza and streetscape.
- Design creative engagement tools for both online and in-person engagement that help community members imagine and share new ideas for Union Square.
- Work with the larger design team and the City of Somerville to ensure that community input is well reflected and honored in the plans for Union Square.
- Create in-person public-making opportunities that welcome Villens back into Union Square in ways that are site-specific, joyful, and diverse, and that double as ways to inspire and share new ideas for the plaza and streetscape.
- Set the bar for civic engagement on public projects in Somerville, prototyping strategies and tools that the City can use for future community engagement.