Episode 48: Cultural District as Framework for Unifying Community Vision


Wrapped inside the cozy neighborhoods of a leafy mill town in Boston’s Metro West, Maynard’s downtown is a dynamic micro-city. Tim Hess, an architect and former chair of the Maynard Cultural Council, shares the journey undertaken to create what is now Maynard’s Assabet Village Cultural District.

Tim HessTimothy Hess, AIA, CNU-A, SEED
Tim Hess is a member of the Maynard Cultural Council, and chaired that group through state designation of the Assabet Village Cultural District. His place-making approach helped to shape the framework and goals for the District, identifying four place-assets of particular civic value to its identity and cohesion, and outlining a series of special events meant to initiate cycles of exploration, imagination, planning, and investment in those places.

Hess is the Design Director of Studio InSitu, an Architecture firm working to enrich the meaning we derive from the spaces and places in our lives. Hess believes powerful design solutions take root where rigorous and sensitive diagnostic work into site and context yields insight. He designed the Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary in Boylston, MA, and describes the place as a kind-of check-point or embassy for the introduction of anxious consumers of contemporary commercial culture we have become into the natural environment for which we are evolved. In 2015, Summer Star was named “Green Building of The Year” by the Massachusetts chapter of the US Green Building Council.

Hess holds a professional B’Arch from Cornell University, accreditation from the Congress for the New Urbanism, and a certificate from the Social Economic Environmental Design network. He is a Director of the Maynard Business Alliance.

Map of the Assabet Village Cultural District

Read Episode Transcript.

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