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East Somerville Cultural District

PAYETTE MLK DOS 2020_Cultural Asset Map_

The East Somerville Cultural District is a dynamic cultural district along the lower Broadway business district that has been revitalized by the immigrant community in Somerville.  The area has more than 125 businesses, 48% of which are immigrant owned and offers a uniquely diverse art, cuisine and cultural events for visitors. 

The East Somerville Cultural District also includes the vibrant Mudflat Ceramic Studios and Somerville Public Library (East Branch) as well as other important community organizations such as the Cross Street Senior Center, Teen Empowerment, Project Soup, Connexion and more!

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East Somerville Cultural District Partners
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Cultural District Formation Timeline and Process

Cultural District Community Meeting Presentation April 5th 2019

Community Conversations and Input Surveys East Somerville Main Streets held the following community conversation events where we discussed East Somerville and the idea of a cultural district:


Cross Street Senior Center Conversation April 2019

Community Response:

Feedback collected from surveys online and from events showed the following:

  • The aspects of the community that people loved the most about East Somerville was its diverse restaurant scene and the feeling of a close-knit & friendly community. Other highlights included its walkability and accessibility to public transit.

  • The aspects that community members were most concerned about were gentrification & displacement, parking & traffic, liter & rodent issues and rising homelessness.

  • The most common suggestion for ESMS was to increase public event programming.

Create Brief for the Cultural District developed in internship with Revolutionary Clinics marketing team in July 2019

Payette and MLK Day of Service - Payette, an architecture and planning firm of 170 in Boston strives to create boldly original buildings for science and healthcare that are as profoundly humane in their accommodation of needs as they are pioneering in their pursuit of environmental performance.  Each year, they provide various community organizations with pro-bono support as part of a Martin Luther King Day initiative within the office.  Over two months this past winter (2019-2020), a team of staff at Payette worked closely with Jen Atwood and a number of her community partners to help prepare materials for the East Somerville Cultural District.  


February, 2020 received letter of support from the Mayor of Somerville.

April, 2020 received letter of support from Somerville Chamber of Commerce.


On June 11, 2020 the Somerville City Council City Council unanimously approved City Resolution to  to create a state-authorized Cultural District in East Somerville.

What is happening now?

Next Steps: East Somerville Main Streets will schedule a site visit with the Massachusetts Cultural Council.  

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