SOMERVILLE – A final member of the Union Square Civic Advisory Committee with 20 years of experience
in sustainable planning has been named at the request of the committee’s chairman Wig Zamore, Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone announced today.
Somerville resident Professor Anne Tate brings to the committee an accomplished background in the areas that the committee will tackle over the next two years, including economic development, land use, housing diversity, transportation, open space, quality of life, and preservation of the square’s character.
An architect and planner, Tate previously served as a Special Advisor on Sustainable Development for the state Office for Commonwealth Development, which combined Massachusetts’ executive offices of Environment, Energy, Housing and Transportation, leading two signature efforts: the state’s Sustainable Development Principles and the Transit Oriented Development Initiative.
Along with Doug Foy, former state Secretary of Commonwealth Development, Tate negotiated the 2006 settlement between Assembly Row developer Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT), IKEA and the Mystic View Task Force. She served on the SomerVision Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee and is a member of Groundwork Somerville’s Advisory Committee. Recipient of the AIA Young Architects Award for Community Service and first place in the Progressive Architecture design competition for affordable housing, Tate has lectured at Yale, Harvard, Princeton and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
At RISD, Tate founded City-State, the Urban Design Lab at the Rhode Island School of Design, which brings the creative design and research of RISD and Brown University to public policy and private development partnerships. A graduate of Princeton University and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Tate’s current project, Urban Eden, imagines cities built in partnership with nature.
The now 20-member Union Square Civic Advisory Committee includes community members, local advocates and business owners with a range of skill sets and perspectives that will advise the City on strategic planning decisions and development in the Union Square area over the next two years.
The committee’s work will build upon the state-approved urban renewal plan for the square, realize transit-oriented and community development opportunities brought by the coming Green Line Extension scheduled to open in 2017 in Union Square, and work in concert with a forthcoming, in-depth roadway and infrastructure improvement plan being prepared by international consulting firm Parsons Brinkerhoff with community input.
The committee will also help the City evaluate applicants who respond to the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a master developer partner that will work with the City, the Somerville Redevelopment Authority, current property owners and community members to design and implement the redevelopment of the seven development blocks identified in the Union Square Revitalization Plan. The master developer partner will be selected by the criteria listed in the RFQ with the aim of achieving the community’s goals set forth in SomerVision and preserving Union Square’s history and unique character. Responses to the RFQ are due Jan. 31, 2014.
Once a master developer partner is selected, the committee will act as a sounding board for the Master Developer. The committee will help shape proposals that will then be brought forward for full public review, providing the community a dialogue with the developer to help determine a strategy that ensures the continuity of this unique and vibrant square, while making sure all the pieces come together in a way that creates community-driven, sustainable and strategic economic development.
The first meeting of the Union Square Civic Advisory Committee will be held on Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. in the Public Safety Building, 220 Washington St. The committee’s first meeting will discuss the groundwork laid so far for development of the area through the Union Square Revitalization Plan adopted in 2012 with approval from the Board of Aldermen, Planning Board and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and through SomerVision, the City’s community-based 20-year comprehensive plan. All Union Square Civic Advisory Committee meetings are open to the public