Every month architects and industry insiders share their recommendations for the best exhibitions and events to visit in Boston.

September 2019
Jonathan Greeley
Director of Development Review for the Boston Planning & Development Agency

September in Boston is synonymous with a return to school. Each fall more than 136,000 college and university students bring a unique vibrancy as they return to campus across the city. All month students will be learning the subway system, mastering our (at times) confusing street grid, and exploring the neighborhoods they now call home. In that spirit of education, I would like to highlight a few events this month that showcase an ever evolving Boston.


The Boston Society of Architects (BSA) is a hub of design thinking for Boston’s architectural community. As climate change begins to have a greater impact on our cities, they are helping to lead the discussion on how planners and policy makers should respond. On September 11th, the BSA will be hosting “Protecting Housing: From Neighborhood to Global Solutions”. Speakers will be sharing strategies to enhance resiliency in order to protect housing at a variety of scales.


Boston is known as one of the best walking cities in the country. What better way to celebrate that legacy than attending the final Open Newbury Street of the year on September 15th. Mayor Walsh launched Open Newbury in 2016 to encourage pedestrians to take full advantage of everything Newbury Street has to offer.  Enjoy the car free day as restaurants and retailers spill out into the street creating a vibrant mix for everyone who strolls through. Looking for a break from the crowds while you are there? Just head one block north and visit the Arthur Gilman designed Commonwealth Avenue Mall. The historic, 32 arce linear park has plenty of shade, seating and public art.


The Allston neighborhood has seen significant changes over the past decade. One piece of that evolution has been Harvard University’s growing presence on the Boston side of the Charles. The focus of those changes have been felt along Western Avenue between the river and Barry’s Corner with buildings like the Artlab and the Science and Engineering Complex. In response to community feedback and emerging development pressures, the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) has launched the Western Avenue Corridor Study. The intent of this planning initiative is to evaluate and make recommendations for the areas along Western Avenue between Barry’s Corner and Leo Birmingham Parkway. Join the BPDA and Allston community at an Open House kickoff on September 16th to learn more. Curious about planning and development meetings in other neighborhoods? Make sure to monitor the BPDA’s public calendar for further information.


Looking for more of a pure architectural focus? The Boston Civic Design Commission holds meetings every Tuesday evening at Boston City Hall to provide a forum for the design community and general public discuss the impacts of proposed development projects on the city’s physical form and natural environment.


Finally, the Undesign the Redline exhibit details the painful legacy of redlining in cities across the country. Here in Boston, local partners Enterprise Community Partners, City Life/La Vida Urbana, and Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation have collaborated with NYC’s Design the WE to host a powerful presentation on Boston’s history of discriminatory housing policies, where those impacts are still being felt today, and how we can develop tools to create a more equitable city. The exhibit will be on display at the JPNDC Brewery Small Business complex through December 31st. More details can be found here.


There are countless events, workshops and meetings happening every day throughout Boston. My best advice on how to experience as much as you can? Hop on a Bluebike and start pedaling! 

Past Editors