Preserving the Historic Look and Embracing Diversity
In general there is a desire to preserve the historic look and feel of the area and character of the buildings. The majority of the buildings are brick and the largest structure(s) exterior of Mecca Mall and those buildings are brick. The modern look as defined by using more glass and steel, seems “foreign” as nothing else in the area has that look.
There is a desire to preserve the character, diversity in the architecture and culture versus creating homogeneity. The harmonizing and unifying washes out the diversity of the existing architecture and what is in the neighborhood. Preserving the historic look should not negate incorporating urban agriculture in the designing or redesigning of the area. The single story buildings do give the sense that the area is undeveloped.
Boston Redevelopment Authority Storefronts and Signage
The Boston Redevelopment Authority recognizes that storefronts and signage significantly shape the character of a given district. To that end, the BRA and the City of Boston have created regulations and guidelines to ensure that storefronts and signage complement the surrounding neighborhood while still allowing business owners to express their individuality and promote their goods and services.
Storefront and signage guidelines vary widely depending on geographic location and other factors. Please see below for more information on sign guidelines, regulations, and procedures which may apply to your business. Additionally, many signs in commercial areas of the city are subject to BRA design review.
- Adding a new sign requires a Long Form Permit from the City of Boston’s Inspectional Services Department (ISD) and may trigger BRA Design review.
- Replacing an existing sign requires a Short Form Permit from ISD and may trigger BRA Design review.
- If your building is in a Main Streets District, your sign should be reviewed by the local Main Streets organization. For more information visit Boston Main Streets.
- If your building is in a Special Zoning Overlay District, the sign or canopy must be reviewed by the BRA Zoning and Urban Design departments. To determine whether your property lies in a Special Zoning Overlay District, use the Zoning Viewer.
- Historic Districts have their own specific regulations regarding signs, canopies, awnings, and storefronts. Information about Historic Districts can be found in the table below.
For more information on signage, please contact Michael Cannizzo, Senior Architect/Urban Designer, by email or by telephone at 617.918.4386.