Frequently Asked Questions

Do projects need to have a community partner lined up in advance?

No, this is not a requirement, but it is preferential for projects that are location specific.

What is the timeline for the Invitational?

A public display of projects will occur in May, and selected projects will begin installation in the Summer of 2016.

Can an organization or company providing matching funds to my budget?

Yes, you are welcome to have a partner supplement your project budget beyond the $9,500 cap. You must itemize this in your budget. If your project is selected, you will need to have a memo of understanding (MOU) with your matching partner.

Does having additional financial resources or donated products help or hinder my application?

No, projects of all types will be assessed by their meeting the core goals of the Invitational and the practicality of implementation.

Can artists and designers include an artist fee in addition to just material costs in the budget?

Yes, your time is valued and you may include a stipend for those efforts in your budget.

Can we propose ideas that impact state or federal property?

Unless you are responding to the bus shelter challenge, please stick with property owned by the City of Boston. If you have questions about ownership, you can consult the City's Assessing Department's property search.

Does long-term maintenance need to be in the initial budget?

Not as part of the $1,000 - $9,500 but you should include it as future costs and any replacement timelines. For example, if there are batteries that will last three years before being replaced, note that it will need replacement in three years and that associated cost.

Are there any limitations when doing work on the sidewalk or street?

Yes, you must keep at least four feet clear for accessibility. There are also places in the downtown area with hollow sidewalks that prevent some installations. You can find more guidelines on siting at

Can a project be temporary or seasonal?

Yes, but only if it is a permanent piece that is reinstalled every season - similar to parklets or Hubway. If you submit this type of project, please include suggestions on storage and reinstallation costs as supplemental information.

What do you want to see on the poster?

Not just renderings of your project (although that is important), but also the process you went through to arrive at the idea. This could be documenting meetings you had, site visits, and design exercises. With your project renderings, be sure to note dimensions in plan and section views.

Should streetscape projects be focused on downtown Boston?

Nope, think about your neighborhood or surrounding neighborhoods. Main Streets Directors are particularly interested in partnering with people on the Invitational, so feel free to contact your local Main Streets organization.

Do I have to factor in permitting costs to my project budget?

No. If your project is selected for implementation, the City will work to shepherd it through the permitting process. The City will also work with the project proponent on any specific installation challenges.

Who will be reviewing submissions?

A team of advisors from MassArt, The Greenway, Microsoft Technology and Civic Engagement, over,under, the Boston Society of Architects, the MBTA, FieLDworkshop, and the Boston Art Commission will be working with the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics to evaluate submissions.

When can I expect to hear about finalists?

May 2016.

I have questions! What should I do?

Email us at