It's a truism of economic development that streetscape improvements can only go so far. If the pig's not that fabulous to begin with, no amount of lipstick shall make it so. Take Barron Plaza in Cambridge's Central Square.
Marc Levy over at Cambridge Day has the skinny:
The plaza at Massachusetts Avenue and Western Avenue was dedicated in the late 1980s to the since deceased furniture leasing magnate Carl F. Barron, the unofficial "mayor" of Central Square, but despite its location at the nexus of transportation and a design featuring brick, benches and literally welcoming art – brick, metal and glass columns that greet visitors in a variety of languages – the area has languished. In an official December 2011 red ribbon report on the square, the plaza and the people most frequently found there were identified as making new residents "uncomfortable." What's to be done? Food trucks, perhaps? Push-carts that sell more than merchandise? Street performers? The possibilities abound n this Hub of ours. Meanwhile there gapes Barron Plaza and others like it. Oh, we got it! A parklet!
· Blight of Central Square's Barron Plaza Will Drag Down Pushcart Test, Some Fear [Day]
· Boston High School Students Raise $12K-Plus for Parklet [Curbed Boston]