Pappas Way is the connection between South Boston and the Boston Seaport. It is home to public art, green spaces, entertainment, and recreation.
CLIENT: OXFORD PROPERTIES
LOCATION: SOUTH BOSTON
YEAR: 2020 – 2022
ROLE: STRATEGY, DESIGN, ACTIVATIONS, COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
THE CHALLENGE: A 42 acre Massport parcel located in South Boston, the Pappas Commerce Center along Pappas Way has historically been viewed as an industrial thoroughfare with no public facing tenants or engaging ground floor presence or community amenities. As the property began the master planning process, community input and engagement is top of mind for the partnership to ensure that any developments on this site are thoughtfully executed and create cohesion between the South Boston and Seaport communities.
THE OUTCOME: Our role in research and planning led to strategic site activity, supported a mechanism to provide real-time feedback, and created the connective tissue for long-term neighborhood discourse from the early stages of the development process. We created a recognizable identity for the property and applied it to a custom public-facing website in order to create an open community feedback loop. We actively surveyed community members about their perceptions of the project site, which informed a multi-year activation strategy tailored to unique needs of this site.
Welcoming seating and light additions to the site invite passersby to make themselves comfortable and stay longer.
Recreation Station, a free community lending library, was conceptualized as a way to start to shift those perceptions and create more life along the waterfront — while simultaneously collecting visitor zip codes and other data about who currently uses the site, how often, if they come back, and more. In addition to passively collecting these insights without the need for continuous staffing onsite.
PROGRAMMING & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Art Class Series: Recreation Station also serves as the property’s home base for seasonal free community programs like art classes, dog-friendly events, and live music. Simultaneously, we created strategic links built into the physical environment to direct visitors to online surveys to gather feedback in real time. These events and programs have led to more utilization of the public greenspace, community adoption, and overall excitement about what will come next.
Barks Brews & Boos: This fun fall festival celebrated one of the Pappas Way green space’s most popular users: dogs! Pets enjoyed free treats at the door from Polka Dog, a costume contest, free pet caricatures and free professional pet portraits. Owners were treated to beer and wine, treats from local restaurants, and bluegrass.
MARKETING & DESIGN
We created an approachable and recognizable parent brand for Pappas Way, which has the capacity to act both as a standalone identity and as the umbrella for the property’s community programs over the years. To date, this parent brand has been translated across physical and digital channels — as a custom-built website and as a sub-branded onsite kiosk called Recreation Station that hosts branded games, activities, and touch points such as wayfinding, flyers, digital materials and more.