Harvard Students Show Off Designs

Harvard student Maria Blanco, a native of San Jose, Calif., shows Revere City Planner Frank Stringi her idea of “NECCO Crossing.”

Harvard student Maria Blanco, a native of San Jose, Calif., shows Revere City Planner Frank Stringi her idea of “NECCO Crossing.”

What would you do if you were given an area of Revere to design?

That’s what 45 graduate students from Harvard Graduate School of Design have been doing for the past few weeks and the results are outstanding. Last Thursday night the students showed off their work in the city hall council chambers to well over 100 people.

“I am amazed and impressed with the amount of detail,” said John Festa, Revere’s Economic Development Director. “It’s a great segue into the May 5 Plan Revere meeting. I’m looking forward to it. There are good, bold ideas here.”

Students Paige Peltzer, from Kansas, and Carlos Reyes, of Columbia, reworked the area of the Wonderland Marketplace site of the current Marshall’s. Their plan offers flexible space for small businesses, a farmer’s market, open space and more walkable streets.

“Bringing Back the Boardwalk” was the theme Emma Schnur, of Westchester, NY used when planning Revere Beach. She sees the beach area as the city’s legacy as a hub of tourism and civic pride.

Councillor Stephen Morabito wandered through all the displays trying to take it all in. “It’s a little overwhelming,” he said.

Harvard Professor Kathryn Madden who brought the students to town said in the past they have used Chelsea and Malden as a planning template. For the past seven weeks the students have been wandering in Revere and talking with Revere’s Youth in Action, Revere on the Move and city officials. Students also residents, businesses, local officials, immigrant groups and real estate pofessionals.

“They got a good feel for what’s going on in the city,” Madden said.

Maria Blanco, of San Jose, Calif., took on the NECCO area and the dangerousness of trying to cross the American Legion Highway on foot. She proposed NECCO Crossing, a bridge over the highway, residential housing units, a tree-lined boulevard, a visitor center for the city and NECCO, an atrium overlooking Wonderland.

“It’s an isolated area with not a lot of community access,” she said.

For Russell Koff, of Denver, Colo., the project was a good hands-on exercise in planning. He liked to see the city bring back the boardwalk and the pier that used to jet off the beach.

“I also would rethink Elliot Circle and use the area as a new gateway for the city,” he said.

Other projects included covered the Beachmont T station, waterfront and Beachmont Downs. Also covered was the Ocean Avenue area, a Revere commuter station, a community college, a rail station and even a place called Wonder Island, which offered a survival strategy for the city.

If you would like to see more of the work done by students visit www.engagerevere.com

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