Second Public Space Invitational Launched

Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the launch of the second Public Space Invitational, a civic design competition that aims to reimagine our public spaces in Boston.

“This competition serves as a great opportunity for Boston’s talented and creative community to show us how we can use pilot projects to improve the functionality and attraction to our public spaces,” said Mayor Walsh in a press release. “We are always looking for new ways to provide great city services and engage members of the public, and through this competition, we are building on our mission to create thriving, healthy, and innovative civic spaces across our city.”

The Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, in partnership with the Boston Art Commission and the City’s Streets cabinet, are asking teams of designers, artists and engineers to submit ideas on how to make civic space, infrastructure, or civic processes more inviting, functional and fun. Up to five projects will be selected and winning teams will have up to $9,500 for construction and implementation of their projects. Submissions will be accepted through April 3, 2016. The application is available here.

This year’s Public Space Invitational features three challenges: an analog challenge, a digital challenge and a bonus challenge.

  • Analog Challenge: a partnership with the Boston Society of Architects, seeks traditional, but innovative approaches to improve the streetscape;
  • Digital Challenge: a partnership with Microsoft Technology and Civic Engagement, seeks projects that experiment with technology, sensors and a generally connected world;
  • Bonus Challenge: a partnership with the MBTA and Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s Matthew Hincman to help a winning team make bus shelters, specifically those at Mattapan Station, more inviting, beautiful, and comfortable.

In 2014, the Mayor announced nine winners of the City’s first-ever Public Space Invitational, which resulted in projects that brought a tidal vibraphone to the Congress Street bridge, provided pop-up learning opportunities for residents, and activated the mezzanine of City Hall with brightly colored skateboard tape.

The Public Space Invitational is part of a continuing series of efforts to engage Boston’s creative community. For more information on the initiative, please visit, join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #BostonPSI, or watch this promotional video.

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