Announcing a new partnership with Patronicity, MassDevelopment, and the BAC

The BSLA is pleased to partner with Patronicity, MassDevelopment, and the Boston Architectural College to catalyze placemaking projects in lower income communities across the Commonwealth.

In 2018, up to five municipalities, nonprofits, or community groups will be eligible to receive free technical assistance to help engage stakeholders in the revitalization of underutilized public spaces. Upon design completion, teams will be eligible to apply to MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places program, which offers matching grants of up to $50,000 for construction, and those applications will be fast-tracked for approval.

Patronicity is a civic “crowdgranting” platform that has partnered with the states of Michigan and Massachusetts to fund projects that improve public spaces — from public art to pocket parks, community gardens to green alleys, greenways to parklets.  Experience over the past few years has shown that communities often struggle with the preliminary stages, and lack the resources to create conceptual sketches and visualizations that illustrate ideas.  That’s where BSLA members and BAC students can help.


2018 Technical Assistance Program Details


  • Municipalities, community groups, and nonprofit organizations may apply.
  • The Commonwealth Places program is available to communities statewide for projects in census tracts where the average household income is less than 120 percent of area median income and/or projects that demonstrate how they will otherwise serve households with income less than 120 percent of area median income. A map showing the above census tracts can be found here.


·         Public plaza creation/improvement

·         Access to public amenities (e.g., riverwalks, canoe launches, pier enhancements)

·         Parklets, Pop-up retail/incubator/café space

·         Alley rehabilitation

·         Park enhancements

·         Bike paths and non-motorized infrastructure

·         Parklets

·         Streetscape beautification

·         Walkability improvements

·         Bandshells and amphitheaters

·         Community theater

·         Place branding and event implementation

·         Other projects that activate or revitalize a public space or a community place


Visit to view projects that have been funded to date.


  1. Municipalities, community groups, and nonprofit organizations will submit a short expression of interest (EOI) detailing their project idea by Friday, January 12, 2018, at midnight.
  2. MassDevelopment, in partnership with BAC and BSLA, will review EOIs and select up to five projects for placemaking design and technical assistance. Applicants will be notified by Friday, January 26, 2018.
  3. Teams from BAC or BSLA will host one design charrette to capture stakeholder ideas for each project concept. Based on stakeholder feedback, the team will then craft a design, renderings and proposed budget for each of the projects. The technical assistance process will last about four to six weeks. (The free technical assistance is geared toward enabling fundraising. Additional work in design development and detailing may be needed for construction.)
  4. Program participants will then be encouraged to submit a grant application to Commonwealth Places. Applicants who have received this technical assistance will be fast-tracked for approval by MassDevelopment.
  5. Once accepted into the Commonwealth Places program, the project sponsor will then launch a crowdfunding campaign on Patronicity’s website. Patronicity staff will help facilitate this process and will serve as coaches throughout the crowdfunding campaign. Once the crowdfunding funding goal has been reached, the project sponsor will receive matching grant funds from MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places grant program.

APPLY TODAY: Deadline to Apply: Friday, January 12, 2018, at midnight

QUESTIONS: Contact Jonathan Berk at