Boston Square Area Plan
Boston Square Area Plan (pdf -- 4.2 MB)
Boston Square Area Plan--Maps and Drawings (pdf -- 4.4 MB)
Boston Square Area Plan--Planning Area Parcels
Shaping Our Square was a year-long opportunity to dream about and plan for our neighborhood. This
effort was a joint project of Oakdale Neighbors, Fuller Area Neighbors, Southeast End Neighborhood
Association, and the Boston Square Business Association with funding from the Dyer-Ives Foundation, The
Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Comerica Bank, and United Growth for Kent County. A more
comprehensive description of this project is available HERE.
The expected outcome of this process is an Area Specific Plan to be amended to the City of Grand Rapids'
Master Plan. Two other neighborhoods in Grand Rapids have developed area specific plans.
Neighborhood Walkabout: November 2005
This planning process began by walking the neighborhood with architect Isaac Norris, urban planner Jay
Hoekstra and several neighborhood stakeholders. Results of that event are HERE.
Neighborhood Meeting: November 27, 2007: Kick-Off
Shaping Our Square was launched on November 27, 2007 with an informational meeting attended by 40
neighborhood residents and stakeholders. The Grand Rapids Press covered this event with a short article
about Boston Square. The results of the November 27 meeting are documented HERE.
Neighborhood Meeting: January 29, 2008: SWOT Analysis
The process continued with an analysis of neighborhood strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and
threats. You can see what neighbors think of the neighborhood HERE. The Grand Rapids Press and
RapidGrowthMedia.com reported on the meeting.
Neighborhood Meeting: February 28, 2008: Goals and Objectives
On February 28, neighborhood stakeholders met to develop goals and objectives for the neighborhood.
another statement of Values and Goals is here.
Design Workshop #1: March 25, 2008
35 neighborhood stakeholders participated in this design workshop. A visual preference survey gave
participants an opportunity to indicate what they like and don't like in sample residential buildings,
commercial properties, and public space. (The results of that survey can be downloaded here: visual
preference survey results.) With Build-A-Streetscape we chose streetscape elements such as lampposts,
trees, and benches while staying within budget. Finally, small groups placed colored dots on maps to show
which properties should be mixed-use commercial, medium density residential, green space, and more.
RapidGrowthMedia.com covered this event with this story.
Design Workshop #2: April 19, 2008
At this workshop 17 participants worked with design team OCBA and Isaac Norris to create, analyze, and
refine possible designs for the neighborhood. The goal of the workshop was to move toward a consensus
about what a transit and pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use neighborhood center would look like in the Boston
Square area. WXMI (Fox 17) covered the event with a short story. RapidGrowthMedia.com also covered this
MSU Urban Planning Report: May 6, 2008
Eight urban planning students from Michigan State University spent two months studying the
neighborhood. Their observations and recommendations are reported in a PowerPoint presentation. You
can download the full report by clicking HERE. The Grand Rapids Press wrote a story about the report.
Draft Sketches of Boston Square: January 2009
Click HERE to access a variety of maps for the planning area.
City of Grand Rapids' Master Plan
A visionary document that describes the Boston Square area as a potential mixed-use neighborhood center.
Grand Rapids Street Classification Policy
A 1996 report to guide the "future design, construction, and improvement of the City's network of major
The City of Grand Rapids Zoning Code
See Article 6 on Mixed-Use Commercial Zone Districts and Section 5.6.02 D on Traditional Neighborhood -
Transit Oriented Development Zone District (Core).
The Brikyaat Plan, developed by the Midtown neighborhood, was recently adopted by the Grand Rapids City
Commission. A copy of the MSU student report that contributed to this plan is available here. MSU students
also did a study of the Fulton Street Farmers Market. The North Monroe Area Specific Plan was completed in
Michigan Transit-Oriented Development Information
This PDF document is entitled "Using Transit-Oriented Development to Create Economic Vibrancy in
Liveable Winter Cities
Patrick Coleman writes "Living in Harmony with Winter" in the United Growth for Kent County newsletter.
To learn more about neighborhood planning and design visit these sites:
Louisville Kentucky Neighborhood Planning Program
The Neighborhood Charette Handbook
Neighborhood Planning on Wikipedia
Project for Public Spaces