Huntington Avenue, known as the "Avenue of the Arts," is home to several of the City of Boston's major cultural and educational institutions. As these institutions continue to grow, and as limited building footprint drives the desire for vertical expansion, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (formerly the Boston Redevelopment Authority) engaged six of the Avenue's major institutions (Northeastern, Wentworth Institute of Technology, the MFA, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, MassArt, and the New England Conservatory) to fund a collective urban design study that culminated in comprehensive design guidelines for the length of Huntington Avenue from Longwood Avenue to Massachusetts Avenue. Sasaki's work defines a comprehensive, holistic vision for the Avenue and establishes design guidelines and standards that ensure individual development projects work together to make the Avenue a more vibrant, pedestrian-friendly, active, and well-designed place.
The project is a first-of-its kind supplemental planning initiative that follows and builds on existing Institutional Master Plans and Planned Development Areas as reached through past Article 80 processes. The study precedes, informs, and expedites future Article 80 large project reviews within the study area. Sasaki and the BPDA met regularly with representatives of the six funding institutions, which built trust and common goals, fostered greater transparency among the individual objectives of each institution, as well as ensured collective development needs were addressed. Sasaki worked with the BPDA and the institutional partners to fully synthesize the thinking behind each institution's past planning efforts. By building on and enhancing these past initiatives, the institutional vision and public process that informed each previous planning effort along the Avenue of the Arts corridor remains intact, valid, and integral to the future.