hatch city

urban design studio


urban design - social housing - accessible education - public library - public transportation - plaza & marketplace - park
fall 2022
mission hill, boston, ma
create a new axis of growth and communication in mission hill

gentrification and poor urban development have historically plagued boston, and the mission hill neighborhood is no exception. this urban design proposal aims not to change the existing fabric, but expand the patterns intuited from the context into something new.

through a series of imageability studies through maps, the axial nature of the neighborhood becomes clear. the area can be understood by clusters of nodes around these primary axes; tremont street, columbus avenue, and huntington avenue. this framework focuses on creating a new axis of circulation and activity, by creating a fracture in the pattern of the neighborhood and repairing it through creating new spheres of gathering. the spaces that result are flexible and adaptable to infinite typologies and programs, cohesive internally and externally, and create connection through gathering, education, and access to nature.

on either end of the new street axis, dual plazas provide a market space and a headhouse for the roxbury crossing train station. these plazas are linked through an equitable street with a bike lane, drainage bioswale, and wide sidewalks, allowing for easy communication up and down. mixed between these plazas are variable housing typologies, blended through fluctuating block sizes and heights to create space for courtyards, exterior corridors, balconies, and first floor commercial space. these housing blocks change in scale with their surroundings, and step back vertically to maintain pleasant streetfront and courtyard conditions. the stark housing blocks feature townhomes, communal dwellings, and family units, creating a self-sustaining community. the adjacency of these typologies fractures the existing structure of the neighborhood and simultaneously blends them through design.

a unique feature of the new street axis is its connection to the existing grid in the mission main housing development. these streets continue into the new block, providing structure for the courtyard apartment buildings, and promptly terminate at their intersection with new street. offset on the opposite side of the road, these streets pick back up and resume the grid pattern. this method reduces the use of these streets for through traffic, and also allows for every other passageway to become pedestrian oriented.