Mayor Walsh Wants Your Ideas to ‘Re-Event’ City Hall Plaza

The Office of New Urban Mechanics is crowdsourcing events to help liven up the public space.

Five short years ago, there was no Boston Calling bringing music’s brightest talent to the front door of the city’s central command. Underground, trains still screeched through Government Center to the tune of busking beat-boxers. No glass structure reminiscent of the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue protruded from an unsightly construction site surrounded by a plywood mural of pigeons.

The area has evolved and will continue to evolve, and City Hall wants individuals, students, and local businesses to have a hand in it. Mayor Marty Walsh’s Office of New Urban Mechanics is soliciting plans for a new event at City Hall Plaza, as part of an initiative called “Re-Event the Plaza.” Normally $200 per hour, City Hall Plaza would be offered up for free.

The proposed event must be free and open to the public, though “it might be possible to sell or charge for something in the event.” Size does not matter, though replicable and scalable events will receive special consideration. In addition, the event must be implementable with the next six months.

Chief of Staff Dan Koh says he’s already heard a number of ideas, from a soccer game to a fireside singalong (“I don’t know if we can have an actual fire because of the fire code,” Koh laughs). He points to the plaza’s new Adirondack chairs as an example of simple ways to reinvigorate the public space.

“There’s so much you can do that’s low cost, that’s all about organizing people,” Koh says. “It doesn’t take a whole lot to jazz up the area.”

Ideas can be submitted to the Office of New Urban Mechanics, If a singalong is picked, Koh promised to bring his acoustic guitar and join in. “It’s been a while since I dusted that old boy off,” he says. “But it’ll be as good a time as any.”