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Running the urban lab

Nicole Fichera

Fichera (second from left) giving Northeastern Students
and alumni a tour of Innovation District

Leveraging the strong background in public policy and urban focus of her architecture education, as well the nontraditional projects she was able to undertakes while working at, Hacin and Associates, School of Architecture alumna Nicole Fichera is engaged in defining what innovation means for a Boston neighborhood and how it can be brought into practice for research, business and residential environments.

Nicole (B.S. Architecture 2011) has been the BRA’s Innovation District Manager for the City of Boston for just under a year. During this time, she has been focused on building community and supporting new endeavors in the area. There is no one single industry that she is trying to attract to the district, which is situated on the South Boston waterfront.  Rather, Nicole sees the impact of the Innovation District as a call to action for business to be part of something new.

Commonwealth Magazine recently caught up with Nicole to learn more about this district and about how she hopes to impact the ongoing development in this area, which contains the largest tract of undeveloped land in the city.

Although she never imagined herself working for the government, Nicole notes that the goals of the district aligned well with her undergraduate education, which trained students to think of the architect’s role as team leader among various invested constituencies.  Now she is helping to direct this “urban lab” in which new ideas can be tested through collaboration and community.

Read the full interview here.

Learn more about the Innovation District.