“Northeastern’s architecture program has a very strong urban design, advocacy, and policy focus, especially in terms of postindustrial cities like Boston,” says Nicole Fichera, who graduated with an architecture degree. “That got me thinking early on about how a city with an industrial character can exist in a 21st century economy.”
Today, Fichera leads Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s effort to transform an underdeveloped section along the city’s waterfront into the new Innovation District.
The chance to build a neighborhood from scratch doesn’t come around often. Fichera got involved in Boston’s Innovation District—a hub for startups and high-tech companies—as a designer with the design firm Hacin + Associates, where she started as a co-op. After graduating, she quickly transitioned to full-time employee, focused on developing new public spaces to foster networking and creativity.
“Being the Innovation District manager is kind of a dream come true—a way to turn my side obsession into a full-time job.”