Salem Point Neighborhood Visioning Project

Image credits: North Shore Community Development Coalition, Emerson Engagement Game Lab, MAPC

Project background

The Point neighborhood in the City of Salem includes nearly 144 acres and 4,100 people, and is located just south of the downtown and wharf areas. The Point is distinguished from surrounding neighborhoods by its geography, density, high proportion of multi-family housing and masonry apartment blocks, and a high concentration of recent immigrants.

Neighborhood resources include rich architectural assets, a significant supply of affordable housing, immigrant-owned small businesses, easy access to Salem Harbor and public transit, and close proximity to Salem State University. It is also a vibrant, ethnically-diverse community that has long been a settlement destination for newcomers.

This project was a collaboration among city, regional, nonprofit and grassroots stakeholders to develop a "Vision Statement and Action Plan" for the Point neighborhood.

What's New:

The City of Salem has received funding through the 2014 District Local Technical Assistance program to undertake a Congress Street Commercial Corridor Plan in collaboration with the North Shore Community Development Corporation and MAPC. This project advances one of the implementation activities outlined in the Plan. This project will commence in spring 2014.

Salem Point Vision and Action Plan Finalized

The Salem Point Neighborhood Vision and Action Plan outlines a vision to improve the quality of life in the Point neighborhood and an action agenda that the City of Salem and community partners will work together to implement over a seven-year period from 2013-2020.
This Plan is a product of a year-long grassroots, neighborhood-level visioning process where city officials and community leaders, residents, students, service providers, property owners, and others engaged in a series of conversations to consider practical approaches for building upon the assets of the Point and making it an even better place to live, work, study, and visit.

"What's the Point?"a Community PlanIt Game

One part of this project's outreach and engagement strategy was the use of Community PlanIt, a web-based game where community members electronically interacted with one another on their smart phone or computer to contribute ideas about the neighborhood. In the game, community members (players) participated in online challenges, collect coins for participation, and pledged coins to Causes -- real-world organizations or nonprofits -- to fund services or activities that benefit the neighborhood. Between January 28 and February 18, people who live, work, study, and play in the Point played the game.

Now that game play is over, the website has converted to a post-game state where you can see comments people have left and summary stats on player responses to questions in the game:

Here's a primer on the Community PlanIt game. This video was produced by our game development partner, Emerson Engagement Game Lab.

community planit primer (egl site) from Community PlanIt on Vimeo.

Project Meetings

Date and Time



Friday, Jan. 25, 4-6 pm

"What's the Point?" Community PlanIt Game Launch Party

Orange Leaf Yogurt, 76 Lafayette Street, Salem

Thursday, Feb. 7, 3-5 pm

Game Play Meet-Up

NSCDC, 104 Lafayette Street, Salem

Thursday, Feb. 7, 3-5 pm

Game Play Meet-Up

NSCDC, 104 Lafayette Street, Salem

Thursday, March 7, 6:30-9 pm

Neighborhood Visioning Workshop

Immaculate Conception Church Auditorium, 15 Hawthorne Boulevard, Salem

Monday, May 13, 6-8:10 pmNeighborhood Action Planning Workshop

 Salem Academy Charter School
49 Congress Street, Salem

Point Neighborhood Walking Tour

View photos from a recent walking tour MAPC conducted with youth from the North Shore CDC Youth Jobs program. Phgoos taken will go into the design for "What's the Point?" a Community PlanIt game that will be launched in the early spring and provides another avenue for residents within and outside of the Point to weigh in on assets and opportunities in neighborhood.

Partner roles

The project is initiated by the City of Salem and the North Shore Community Development Coalition (NSCDC) with the support of MAPC and is funded by the Metro Boston Consortium for Sustainable Communities.

  • MAPC is working with the City of Salem and NSCDC to synthesize existing data about the Point, helping to plan and facilitate public meetings, and preparing all final project deliverables. MAPC is also coordinating the participation of Emerson Engagement Game Lab, which is developing and implementing the Community PlanIt igame.
  • NSCDC is undertaking all outreach and engagement for development of the vision statement and action plan, including canvassing, surveying, and small-scale community meetings and neighborhood-wide meetings.
  • The City of Salem is assisting with the compilation of content from existing studies pertaining to the Point, planning and facilitating the second public meeting, and assessing impediments and opportunities to implementing the neighborhood vision.

Why it’s important

The proposed project will empower residents to create their own community vision and to mobilize resources to ensure that the Point develops sustainably in its housing, land and environmental resources, and its economy. Project partners hope that the resulting Action Plan guides municipal priorities for local capital and operating improvements.

This project supports MetroFuture’s Sustainable Growth Patterns , Housing Choices , Community Vitality, and Healthy Environment goals for the region.

Project schedule

  • Summer 2012: Establishment of Point Neighborhood Visioning Project Advisory Committee
  • Summer/Fall 2012: Data synthesis and maps
  • Fall 2012-Spring 2013: Community PlanIt and neighborhood canvassing and community meetings
  • Spring 2013: Neighborhood-wide public meetings
  • Late Spring 2013: Development of vision statement and action plan


For more information about this project, please contact:

  • Jennifer Erickson, MAPC Regional Planner at or 617-933-0759
  • Lynn Duncan, AICP, Director of Planning and Community Development for the City of Salem at or 978-619-5685
  • Mickey Northcutt, Executive Director of the North Shore Community Development Coalition, or 978-745-8071