“Smart cities” are the latest urban phenomenon popping up across the globe. Among the newest being realized will be Union Point, a masterplan with a commitment to innovation located just south of Boston, USA.
What is a “smart city?” It is a city in which embeds multiple data collection technologies within the city in hopes of providing a supportive and competitive advantage to the city’s residents and business. Officials then use this data to make their cities safer, healthier, and more efficient. Cities are not geniuses quite yet, but the “smart city” is rethinking the way cities are run.
Union Point is the latest venture in intelligent cities. Developed by LStar Ventures, Elkus Manfredi Architects, and Sasaki Associates, the 1,500-acre masterplan aspires to combine active living with a “Smart City” design to offer the advantages of urban density in a livable environment. The majority of the existing site is empty, essentially allowing the team to start from scratch, providing unparalleled opportunity to define and develop an international example of a Smart City.
Kyle Corkum, a partner for LStar Ventures, had the vision to create a beautiful, sustainable community which simultaneously improved the lives of the people who will live and work in Union Point and provide much-needed economic development to the local communities. In the process of realizing these goals, Kyle and his team have developed close relationships with the members of the local community and given them a voice in the design of Union Point.
Together, the final design combines the attributes and energy of a city—elements such as access to public transportation, entertainment and sports venues, art, culture, and education—with natural open spaces, pedestrian and bicycle-friendly roadways, and the latest communication and smart-living technologies of today.
At the heart of Union Point will be located its Downtown District—a high-density, mixed-use neighborhood featuring residential, office, retail, restaurant, and civic uses. At the core of downtown will be Hangar Square: Union Point’s important touchstone to the site’s past as a former Naval Air Base. At the focal point of the square will be an existing aircraft hanger, celebrated and re-imagined as an active neighbor for downtown. Together, the Downtown District will serve as a dynamic hub serving the local and south shore communities while establishing Union Point’s presence within greater Boston.
Another featured neighborhood will be that of Discovery District. Here, the neighborhood exemplifies the design team’s desire for a community founded on a spirit of innovation. Discovery District fosters a dynamic, inspiring environment for companies to share ideas and enthusiasm.
Construction has begun on multiple fronts, and in its completed state, Union Point will be home to more than 4,000 new homes, multiple urban districts, a public greenway, and a 25-acre sports complex. Over 50 miles of walking and biking trails will provide residents and visitors a physical link to the dual nature of Union Point: the diverse and dynamic urban neighborhoods and the expansive natural beauty of its open spaces.
Union Point will be a place where people create residences, workplaces, necessities, escapes, and human connections that sustain and inspire. Here, the boundary is blurred between the urban and landscape, and the city is built to adapt to and embrace emerging technologies. The result is a delightful, resilient, and “smart” city ready to tackle the challenges of both today and tomorrow.
News via: Elkus Manfredi Architects.
Update 11/20/17: A previous version of this article understated the number of homes that will be built in Union Point; more than 4,000 will be built.