Downtown News and Blog

Urban Exploration: Boston - Day 2

May 17, 2017 Written by

Published in Downtown News and Blog

The Downtown Alliance can learn from the successes of other cities and downtowns throughout the country. The Urban Exploration program brings public and private sector leaders together to learn about the best practices of other cities. This is the fourth in a series of annual trips sponsored by the Downtown Alliance to build relationships and learn from the success of other communities.

The Urban Exploration program is a working trip focused on building relationships and inspiring innovation in downtown Salt Lake City. We are currently working to strategically select projects in Boston that correlate to emerging initiatives and issues in downtown Salt Lake City. This year's urban exploration participants will learn about downtown Boston's Public Market, private management of public spaces, clean and safe programs, social service incubators and more.

This is the fourth in a series of annual trips sponsored by the Downtown Alliance to build relationships and learn from the success of other communities: we visited New York in 2014, Chicago in 2015 and San Francisco in 2016.

Downtown Crossing - The Rebirth of a Neighborhood
Day two of our Urban Exploration trip began with a breakfast panel from:
Greg Galer (Executive Director @ Boston Preservation Alliance)
Kathleen MacNeil (Principal @ MDA Partners)
Andrew Grace (Director of Strategic Planning and Development @ City of Boston)

We enjoyed a discussion on the preservation of Boston's numerous historical sites. Founded in 1630, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the U.S. The city is studded with historical landmarks and a storied architectural heritage. There is a deep sense of pride among Bostonians and visitors from across the world and a common feeling that this historic nature be protected and preserved.

Our group was able to pick the brains of those who have created innovative projects in the heart of downtown Boston while maintaining historical integrity. Salt Lake City can look at these projects as templates as we expand West and continue to build our ever-growing skyline.

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Stokes Strategies Lunch N’ Learn @ Harvard Loeb House with HBS Professor Clayton Christensen
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to attend a class at Harvard University? Our group had that opportunity on day two with a luncheon that included guest speaker Clayton Christensen. Born in the Rose Park neighborhood of Salt Lake City, Clayton Christensen is a Professor of Business Administration at the Kim B. Clark Harvard Business School. Clayton teaches one of the most popular elective classes for second year students, Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise. He is regarded as one of the world’s top experts on innovation and growth and his ideas have been widely used in industries and organizations throughout the world. A 2011 cover story in Forbes magazine noted that ‘’Everyday business leaders call him or make the pilgrimage to his office in Boston, Mass. to get advice or thank him for his ideas.’’ In 2011 in a poll of thousands of executives, consultants and business school professors, Christensen was named as the most influential business thinker in the world.

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Breakout Afternoon Activities
Our tour of the Boston BID was followed by several optional activities were strategically selected projects and initiatives that correlate to emerging initiatives and trends in downtown Salt Lake City – with a little bit of fun mixed in for good measure!

The Innovative Social Service Incubator - Harvard University/Y2Y Shelter
Following our "Harvard education", severl members headed to meet with the  Y2Y Harvard Square founders, a student-run overnight shelter that employs a youth-to-youth model to provide a safe and affirming environment for young adults experiencing homelessness. Y2Y guests have 10 opportunities to collaborate with service providers, other youth experiencing homelessness, and student volunteers to create sustainable pathways out of homelessness and develop skills for long-term success. Y2Y provides opportunities for both guests and volunteers to become the next generation’s leading advocates for youth-driven solutions to homelessness.

While Salt Lake has taken great strides to helping those who have fallen on hard times with new shelters through the Collective Impact Committee and efforts from state, county and city leaders, it is always refreshing to see other innovative and grassroots solutions. 
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The Greenway – Contemporary Public Art Park Tour
One group toured the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a garden atop a highway tunnel and is a contemporary public park in the heart of Boston. The non-profit Greenway Conservancy maintains, programs, finances, and improves the 1.5-mile Greenway on behalf of the public. In 1991, after almost a decade of planning, construction began on the Central Artery/Tunnel Project, more widely known as the "Big Dig". The project, recognized as one of the largest, most complex, and technologically challenging in the history of the United States, would remove the elevated highway and create a tunnel system below the city. With the elevated highway to be relocated underground, community and political leaders seized the opportunity to enhance the city by creating the Greenway, a linear series of parks and gardens that would re-connect some of Boston’s oldest, most diverse, and vibrant neighborhoods. The creation of the Greenway was a joint effort of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority (MTA), the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Boston, and various civic groups.
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Google Reception @ Revere Rooftop
Overlooking Downtown Boston’s Back Bay, the Revere Rooftop was an excellent way to reflect on all of the great tours and relationships while taking in Boston from up high. 
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