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Public Space Invitational: Boston's public spaces to get facelift

The city announced on Wednesday the winners of the first Public Space Invitational, a crowd-sourced design competition to rethink small public spaces.

Some of Boston's most desolate, drab and dull public spaces are about to get a lot more interesting.

The city announced on Wednesday the winners of the first Public Space Invitational, a crowd-sourced design competition aimed at rethinking small public spaces, sidewalks and City Hall. Out of 70 submissions, nine winners were chosen and those projects will be deployed over the next year, and some as early as next month, the city said.The city asked proponents to create designs within a $4,500 budget.

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Among the winning designs is a plan to establish a portable reading room. It will start on the Greenway, but will eventually serve multiple neighborhoods and will partner with the Boston Public Library. It gives people "an uplifting reason to gather in public space," according to the project design. "Creating a library setting at street level can humanize the urban landscape and make the city feel more intimate."

City Hall, which more than a few people consider to be cold, ugly and uninviting, will soon become a littler more colorful. One of the winning projects, named "Stairs of Fabulousness," will use non-skid colored tape to transform the brick staircases inside City Hall.

Another project titled "Seat Light Control," will turn the "mundane and unattractive" street light control boxes from vertical slabs to horizontal redesigned benches, turning them into "street furniture with a purpose," according to the proposal.

"Boston has a vibrant art, design, and creative community. This competition is a celebration of the City’s immense talent, and the creative community’s interest in improving our city," Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement. "Exciting ideas came from every corner of Boston – from top design firms to a group of students from Codman Academy – this truly was an open invitation to make our civic spaces more engaging."

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.

 
 
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