What is Common Boston?

Common Boston (CB17) is a one weekend annual architecture and design festival. CB17, a program of the BSA Foundation, is a unique opportunity to discover and explore the region's rich architectural, cultural, and historic resources. On Saturday and Sunday June 3 and 4, 2017, more than 50 sites throughout Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline will open their doors to the public free of charge, allowing people to explore their city environment and deepen their knowledge of their community. The goals of Common Boston are to promote a greater appreciation of the built environment, inspire discussion about excellence in design, planning, and preservation, and broaden awareness of the rich architectural and cultural traditions present in diverse communities throughout Greater Boston


When does CB17 take place?

Mark your calendar for Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4, 2017! 


Where does CB17 happen?

CB17 is a city-wide festival with dozens of participating sites located throughout Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline during the event weekend. See the sites and festival map here!


How do I get between sites?

Depending on the neighborhood, parking may be available, but we recommend that you take the bus, train or ride your bike! It’s up to you to plan what sites you want to visit and how you want to get there. Regardless of what mode of transit you choose, be sure to wear your walking shoes.


How much does CB17 Cost?

The Common Boston Festival is FREE for everyone, including Site Partners and the public! How do we do it? We rely on generous support from our Festival Sponsors and the great sites that allow CB17 visitors to tour free of charge.


What qualifies as a Site? What kinds of spaces will be featured?

We seek a diverse range of site types, including sacred historic places, sky-high offices, repurposed mansions, hidden infrastructure, unique learning spaces, and more. In addition to open access, we encourage behind-the-scenes programming such as a building tour, access to an otherwise private space, or even an art installation… the possibilities are limitless!


How can I participate?

Beyond attending the festival June 3–4, 2017 and visiting all the great sites, you can also join Common Boston as a Site Partner, Community Partner, Festival Sponsor, and/or Festival Volunteer:

·         Site Partners are hosts who highlight great spaces and share their important work.

·         Community Partners are connectors who provide neighborhood insights and amplify our message.

·         Festival Sponsors are supporters who offer financial and/or in-kind resources for the festival.

·         Festival Volunteers are ambassadors who give their time in support of festival activities. And yes, you can be any                     combination of the above too—the more, the merrier!


What does a festival volunteer do?

Festival volunteers provide essential support during CB weekend by ensuring that visitors are properly greeted and informed. Stationed at all Site Partner locations throughout the city, these volunteers control admission to sites, answer questions and track visitor attendance.
The visitor attendance data tracked by volunteers is critical to the support of CB. This information, consisting of zip codes, tally sheets, and visitor surveys, provides us with solid attendance numbers and maps that show where visitors were coming from and going to during CB weekend.
A Volunteer Greeter’s main responsibilities are to:

  • Welcome and direct visitors at assigned site
  • Track visitor attendance using tally sheets
  • Support the staff and volunteers of the site at which they are stationed
  • Report any issues or problems to local Ambassador
  • Answer visitor questions about Common Boston


Why does this matter?

Because creating more equitable, sustainable, and vibrant communities throughout greater Boston is important to all of us. Through your support and participation in the Common Boston Festival, together we can:

·         Help the public discover Boston's rich culture, architecture, and history.

·         Break down silos and encourage a greater spirit of collaboration among artists/designers, neighborhood groups, nonprofit            organizations, small businesses, and the public at large.

·         Inspire people to share personal experiences, neighborhood resources, and business opportunities.

·         Enhance the profile of Boston as a diverse, vibrant community with a rich cultural tradition.

·         Showcase trends and developments impacting the built environment and communities.

·         Facilitate economic growth, access and opportunity, especially in underserved areas.


We hope you can join us!

If you have any questions at all, please send us a message here.