The Boston Globe recently reported on Mayor Walsh’s “request for ideas” to enliven City Hall Plaza, the 200,000-square-foot brick field that surrounds City Hall and leaves little to be desired.

As someone who walks through City Hall Plaza on my morning commute, the space currently serves as a direct (and ugly) cut-through from Cambridge Street to State Street which leads me to SM&’s office. I’d like to see the space transform into a park that functions as an extension of Faneuil Hall with coffee shops and quick, healthy dining options. Located adjacent to the Financial District, I’d like the space to enforce work-life balance, offering plentiful green space for workout classes before, during, and after work; as well as space to sit and eat lunch or have outdoor internal business meetings. (Natural light does help improve productivity – there are many studies!)

For some additional insights, I reached out to my colleagues. Here are a few additional thoughts:

  • “A bigger farmer’s market – like the one on the Greenway that has food trucks.”
  • “I would love to see a park – specifically a designated dog park, there are very few places for animals down here.”
  • “I hope to see the space utilized like New York City’s smaller parks, like Madison Square Park or Union Square Park. A multi-season market featuring local craftspeople or food would be a refreshing alternative to the chain stores around the corner at Faneuil Hall. Fitness classes and small-scale concerts would draw people to the space. And, as Mayor Walsh said, it’s critical to provide areas for quiet reflection in the middle of the city.”
  • “More than anything…I would like to see green space. More of a park than a concrete plaza.”
  • “European cities have fairs in all seasons with food, music, art, and clothing which brings spirit and culture. In a city that goes through a tough winter, it would be nice to have something to look forward to like a Holiday market. I went to an amazing Christmas Market in Scotland and a Winter Carnival in London. These types of fairs would help small businesses vending at the markets, attract more tourists, and help drive the economy. I’m surprised Boston hasn’t caught on to this yet.”
  • “Hmmm maybe a giant park filled with candy like Willy Wonka.”

The Boston Herald reported on the Mayor’s call, noting a Tewksbury woman’s suggestion of using the space as an “ ‘artists’ square’ ” where local artists could create and sell their artwork” – I like that idea too.  

It’s an exciting time for Boston. Construction cranes dot the skyline as we blend our unique history with new, modern developments to start Boston’s next chapter. I am excited to see what is next for City Hall Plaza specifically as it links some of our city’s most well-traveled, culturally unique sections – Beacon Hill, the Financial District and Downtown Crossing.

Have an idea? Submit it via Twitter to @marty_walsh and @NotifyBoston using #CityHallPlaza. According to the Boston Globe, the city would like to receive ideas by May 4. Walsh said he hoped something could be in place by 2016 after the completion of the MBTA’s new Government Center Station.

Photo Credit: Peter H. Dreyer via Flickr

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