Why have outdoor public space in Barry's Corner?

We had some discussion about outdoor public space in Barry's Corner at last night's Harvard meeting. There was talk about both where it should be (along North Harvard St, along Western Ave, at the intersection, etc) and its shape (thin and linear vs. compact) but I think the conversation should start with what types of activity the space is intended to host. What are its goals?

Sitting and eating was mentioned frequently and that is fine, but if Barry's Corner is going to be a real center of community activity then it needs to bring people together to do more than have a sandwich on a bench.

The Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema in Bellingham, WA is one example of a great looking outdoor space that brings neighbors together. On summer Saturday evenings there is live music starting at 7:30 or 8:00 followed by a family-friendly movie.

There are already other places around Boston with similar events (Free Friday Flicks at the Hatch Shell and Music & Movie Fridays at the Boston Harbor Hotel) but I don't know of anything comparable in this area.

A space with programming like this would be a great addition to our neighborhood and could be a nice place for the Harvard community, Allston residents from our existing community, and our new neighbors from the new Barry's Corner housing to all come together.


  1. This is a great question to be asking. If an outdoor public space goes unused then it just becomes an empty lifeless space which detracts from the neighborhood.

    What happened to the idea of the grove of trees being a public space on the corner of N. Harvard and Western?

  2. There were again several references to the Charlesview Grove (http://goo.gl/maps/sjEK) at the meeting last night as eventually becoming some kind of valuable public space. That seems like it would be the nicest place in Barry's Corner for sitting and eating your sandwich because of the nice shade (or on a bench overlooking Smith Field). But for public events the grove won't work because of the position and spacing of the trees.

  3. What about Smith Playground, the underutilized Library Park, the Harvard fields, or places along the riverfront?

    It seems to me that there is quite a bit of possible open space for programming public events. We should be trying to reuse those instead of creating more unused empty spaces that act as barriers to walking and bicycling.

    Most importantly, unless there is infill development, there won't be any people gathering at any potential public space, because they won't have a reason to be there in the first place.

  4. Anonymous1:36 PM

    Ray Mellone Park would be an excellent site for seasonal movie nights with natural links to seasonla themes built around books that have turned into films.

  5. Anonymous10:54 PM

    In front of the Brighton Library they are putting up an outdoor stage in that park (on busy Chestnut Hill Avenue?)