Arts can create “a sense of place” in Malden

By Robin Inman This is another in a series exploring the future of development in Malden. Read part one, two, three and four here.  Greg Cook, a long-time Malden resident and creator of Wonderland magazine, loves this city. But he fears that – like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz – something is lacking. A heart. “Malden struggles because it doesn’t have a geographic heart. It struggles to have places where people mix and share ideas. Places where people meet, bump into each other and learn new ideas and hear what each other is doing; are inspired or challenged to do even better,” says Cook, who works as publicist for the Cambridge Arts Council, creates festivals with the Somerville Arts Council, and was a reporter and art critic for WBUR’s The ARTery. Having a heart or a sense of place is not just a lofty ideal. This is integral to the concept of Smart Growth, which can guide a city in creating a prosperous and livable community. A key factor in creating a heart or a sense […]


Bike, Zip and More: How Malden can share the road for smarter transportation 

This is another in a series exploring the future of  development in Malden. Read part one, two and three here.  By Karen Buck Can the United States break its addiction to automobiles? Many Americans have, in part by turning to that trusty two-wheel vehicle — the bicycle. The Boston area, in fact, has been in love with biking since 1877 [Lorenz J. Finison, Boston’s Cycling Craze, 1880-1900: A Story of Race, Sport, and Society (2014).] Today, many cities, particularly in Europe, have made a push for bike-friendly communities.  Some areas are turning to bike-sharing programs and some even see this as a great investment opportunity. During the fall of 2017, the City of Malden instituted a pilot bike share program by allowing two bike share companies, LimeBike and Ofo, to trial their bike-system in Malden. Shortly thereafter, our city was punctuated by 200 lime green and 200 yellow bikes. Why a bike share? Many Malden residents don’t own bicycles due to lack of storage or the ability to maintain personal bikes.  Many bike share programs, such as Hubway Bikeshare in […]


Can Malden’s Transit Woes Be Eased with Smart Planning?

This is the third in a series for Neighborhood View exploring the future of  development in Malden. See part one and part two.  By Karen Buck Social media encourages us to share — share our photos, share our posts, and share our favorite memes. Social media connects us. What about social transit? What about sharing the road?   As our cities expand and the population grows,  many Americans are questioning a life centered on the automobile. In 2017, drivers in the Boston area spent an average of 60 hours in traffic during peak periods, according to an annual scorecard from the transportation analytics firm INRIX, as reported by WBUR. That makes Boston the seventh-most congested urban area in the country. (Los Angeles, at an average of 102 hours in traffic , and New York City, at 91 hours,  top the gridlock list.) Consider this:  Millennium Partners is proposing a $100 million gondola to fly workers over the clogged streets of the Seaport. Yet many believe that easing transportation congestion may not require flying cars. The concept of […]


Could “Smart Growth” guide Malden’s development?

By the staff of Neighborhood View The second in a series exploring the future of  development in Malden. See part one here.   Today we have  many “trigger” words to avoid in certain places, and apparently the word “growth” is one of them at Malden City Council meetings. That’s according to councilor Steve Winslow, with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor. The use of the word “growth” has been contentious in Malden ever since a November 2015 vote to approve a one-year moratorium on multi-family development of  more than 5 units outside the Central Business District. In  January  2017, the city council extended the moratorium through the end of June to allow for additional study and expanded it to include the Central Business District.  Yet, a growing cadre of Malden residents is  pushing for  the city  to consider an approach  called “Smart Growth” and Winslow counts himself among its proponents. Indeed, he said, “What we have on the Council right now is a few advocates for smart growth vs. no growth at all.” But what is Smart Growth? […]


Is “Smart Growth” the future for Malden?

Should Malden stop regarding growth as a problem and instead see it as an opportunity? By the staff of Neighborhood View, the first in a series exploring the future of  development in Malden . In its 350-year-plus history, Malden has transformed itself over and over again. Today, the city  is in the midst of another transformation that may chart its history for decades to come. Let’s start with a little  history.  In the 18th and 19th century,  Malden was mostly farmland and dairy farms, amid hills and woodlands north of the Mystic River. By the early 1900s, it was a bustling urban area with five movie theaters, a popular Jordan Marsh department store, and a growing population of both immigrants and those who had settled here centuries before. Much of the city’s housing stock dates to the 1920s and the city steadily grew and prospered until the 1950s. The population started to decline in the 1960s and by the 1970s, Malden was mired in an economic malaise that affected much of New England. In the 1980s, the […]


Will the Community Preservation Act (CPA) Benefit Malden?

Certain people say the Community Preservation Act is a wonderful mechanism to help cities and towns in Massachusetts to fund open space, historic preservation, community housing, and outdoor recreation projects. Others say it’s just a way for government to circumvent Proposition 2 ½. Let us take a deeper look at what the fuss is all about. According to the CPA Coalition the “CPA is a smart growth tool that helps communities preserve open space and historic sites, create affordable housing, and develop outdoor recreational facilities. CPA also helps strengthen the state and local economies by expanding housing opportunities and construction jobs for the Commonwealth’s workforce, and by supporting the tourism industry through preservation of the Commonwealth’s historic and natural resources.” The Act allows local communities to establish a Community Preservation Fund which gets generated through a local surcharge from 1 to 3% on property tax bills. At 1% this would average $15 to $44 increase per tax payer, annually. Estimated Yearly Cost to Average Malden Homeowner with a 1% CPA surcharge (based on FY2013 data, […]