The Organization for Permanent Modernity is an office and research group for urban design and architecture.

Toward a development model for the Boston Middle Ring Suburbs


Toward a development model for the Boston Middle Ring Suburbs


The Middle Ring Suburbs, due to their position within a city, are perfect geographies for a durable and sustainable type of development; compact, mixed-use designs with unique identities, catering to niche audiences, both transit oriented but yet also tethered to its surroundings with direct access to interstate arteries. However, obstacles specific to The Middle Ring, like the absence of a civic center, lack of urban identity and densities that restrict pedestrian accessibility, hinder traditional development practices in these crucial zones. Instead of a development largely based on standard practices, these locations require a model that is wholly different; Brownfield recovery being the closest example of a non-traditional model.

This research proposal seeks to develop that new model by first analyzing the complexities of the Middle Ring development process and then introducing templates for development (retail + others), design (built + infrastructures), and management (multi-actor processes + legal possibilities) that might unlock a renewed potential for these sites. Using the Boston Metropolitan area as our case study, we have identified zones of opportunity onto which our hypotheses can be tested. From these studies our proposed model allows for the generation of a substantial Return on Investment for these marginalized landscapes. Secondly we believe that this model will allow NAOIP members to better understand potential investment opportunities within the peri-urban zones of a city.

sponsored by the NAIOP Research Foundation

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