A city task force is urging Boston officials to create a Dudley Square/Uphams Corner "neighborhood innovation district" to bring entrepreneurs, jobs and new housing into the area as start-ups create the next generation of businesses in whatever field the district becomes known for - maybe education, given the new location of BPS headquarters.
The Neighborhood Innovation District Committee says the Dudley/Uphams area has the right base could benefit from tax credits and other spurs in recreating the success of the South Boston Innovation District - but this time atop existing neighborhoods, rather than a sea of parking lots. Lessons learned there could be used to create similar districts in other Boston neighborhoods.
The [Dudley Square-Uphams Corner area] offered strong transportation nodes, including the Dudley Square Bus Depot and the Uphams Corner stop on the Fairmount Line, across both transit and roadways. There was also available commercial space and strong potential partners among area non-profits. ...
Proximate public institutions like Roxbury Community College, Madison Park High School, O’Bryant High School, the Strand Theatre, and several libraries are potential assets. The relocation of the Boston Public Schools headquarters to Dudley Square also offers a potential foundational element to the district. Not only will the new headquarters provide a stream of potential customers for retail businesses, it also offers the potential to offer a unique environment to nurture educational technology firms.
In addition, the physical structure hosting the Boston Public Schools will also house the Roxbury Innovation Center, which will feature a community space hosted by the Venture Café Foundation and community programming produced by Skylab. The City of Boston, through the Boston Redevelopment Authority and other entities, has been engaged in the planning and redevelopment of the area, which provides a strong knowledge base of community needs.
The committee acknowledged the importance of working with existing residents, rather than just trying to gentrify the entire area into a district that is mostly unaffordable to the people who live there now. It pointed to tax credits for low-income housing construction and said developers could perhaps be encouraged to build micro-apartments - of the sort that have so far done nothing to bring down housing prices in the South Boston district.
The highest priority recommendation of the Infrastructure subcommittee in relation to displacement is for the City of Boston to simultaneously develop a Dudley-Uphams Corridor Housing Plan in concert with the Neighborhood Innovation District. Furthermore, it would be helpful to develop a baseline and values statement for what an "ideal" healthy community looks like for the Neighborhood Innovation District, and express the desire to keep the fabric and vibrancy of the existing neighborhood.
The report also calls for building direct transit and technology links between the district and other innovation areas in the region, such as the Longwood Medical Area and Kendall Square.