In the Spring of 2013, through an extensive community visioning process, Harvard Graduate School of Design first year graduate students worked on a plan focused on revitalizing downtown Malden. A key focus of the downtown plan was the Malden Government Center site. However, the plan examined the entire downtown area and addressed six topic areas, including urban design principles, redevelopment opportunities, housing balance, transportation and downtown connections, natural systems and open space, and downtown activities.
MAPC staff participated throughout the student planning process, providing context, research, and advice. Staff then reviewed and refined the final student recommendations in addition to making additional recommendations. The final blueprint document consists of two parts: a narrative document of recommendations for downtown Malden and an implementation grid designed as a step by step guide on how to move forward on recommended action items.
Why it’s Important
Despite having many assets, including a great diversity of residents and the proximity to the MBTA Malden Center T station, downtown Malden has continued to face a number of challenges. These challenges include the location of the current City Hall, the variety of businesses needed to attract a consistently strong customer base, as well as a current lack of pedestrian orientation and facilities downtown. This plan will provide the City and area organizations with the road map neccessary to overcome these challenges and to create a thriving and bustling downtown area.
Accomplishments to Date
Since the beginning of this planning process, the city has already taken action on a number of the recommendations that were included in the draft plan. They have issued an RFP for the re-development of the Malden Government Center site and are exploring the process of re-locating their current City Hall. The Commonwealth has just committed MassWorks funds to help demolish and relocate City Hall as well as the adjacent police headquarters, contingent on a redevelopment plan that will tie the Orange Line station to downtown Malden. The Malden Redevelopment Authority is putting together an RFP for a parking study to assess the parking needs downtown, and a special mayoral task force recently installed dozens of new wayfinding signs across the downtown area, featuring artwork from famous Malden-born painter Frank Stella.