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9 Bright Ideas Win Funding To Refresh Boston’s Public Spaces

"Lobby Sky" will include a 55 foot by 41 foot mural of the sky stretched over the ceiling of City Hall's lobby. (City of Boston)

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BOSTON — A portable reading space. Utility boxes that function as benches. A mini makeover for Boston’s drab City Hall lobby.

Those are just a few of the winning ideas from the city’s first Public Space Invitational — a crowd-sourced design competition aimed at reimagining public spaces on a small budget.

The city received 70 submissions from across the city, including proposals by top design firms and even one from a group of Codman Academy students. Nine ideas in three categories — The Streetscape, City Hall, and Random Awesome Designs, or RAD — were awarded funding to make their ideas a reality. Each had to be budgeted to cost less than $4,500.

The portable reading room, which aims to create a “library setting at street level,” will hit the Rose Kennedy Greenway this summer with the help of private funding. The eight other winners will work with the city’s office of New Urban Mechanics to refine their ideas before they are implemented over the next year.

Check out all the winning proposals below, and see more details on each here.

The Streetscape

The portable reading room, which aims to create a “library setting at street level,” will hit the Rose Kennedy Greenway this summer. (City of Boston)

The portable reading room, which aims to create a “library setting at street level,” will hit the Rose Kennedy Greenway this summer. (City of Boston)

"Seat Light Control" will re-orienti utility control boxes so they can double as public benches. (City of Boston)

“Seat Light Control” will re-orient utility control boxes so they can double as public benches. (City of Boston)

"The Hub" proposal includes modular units that include seating, planters and bike racks for Huntington Avenue. (City of Boston)

“The Hub” proposal will create modular units that include seating, planters and bike racks for along Huntington Avenue. (City of Boston)

Random Awesome Design

The "Tidraphone" is a tidal vibraphone planned for Fort Point Channel. (City of Boston)

The “Tidraphone” is a tidal vibraphone planned for Fort Point Channel. (City of Boston)

"Chair City Mountain" will create benches that double as play spaces. (City of Boston)

“Chair City Mountain” will create benches that double as play spaces. (City of Boston)

"Light Well" will include planters that have seats and solar-powered LED lights. (City of Boston)

“Light Well” will include planters that have seats and solar-powered LED lights that turn on at night. (City of Boston)

"Rhodes" will create a life-size outdoor video conference with another city. (City of Boston)

“Rhodes” will create a life-size outdoor video conference with another city. (City of Boston)

City Hall

"Lobby Sky" will include a 55 foot by 41 foot mural of the sky stretched over the ceiling of City Hall's lobby. (City of Boston)

“Lobby Sky” will include a 55 foot by 41 foot mural of the sky stretched over the ceiling of the City Hall lobby. (City of Boston)

"Stairs of Fabulousness" will use non-skid tape to transform the stairs inside the City Hall lobby using color. (City of Boston)

“Stairs of Fabulousness” will use non-skid tape to transform the stairs inside the City Hall lobby using color. (City of Boston)

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