SHIFTboston blog » ABOUT SHIFTboston


When it comes to re-envisioning our shared urban environment, can we challenge ourselves to think “what if”? Can we break through current boundaries between disciplines to find solutions to make new things happen?

SHIFTboston is an public design initiative that was established with the help of the Boston Society of Architects in 2008 to explore the next generation of design. Through international competitions and public forums, we are investigating and exploring interdisciplinary design in the digital age. 

We are a resource for students, scientists, manufacturers, engineers, designers and visionaries — worldwide – wishing to share the latest cross-disciplinary design thinking in urban design, architecture, landscape design and engineering.

Do you have a product, or concept you would like to share? Email us and if we like it we will share it.

Please email all inquiries to:



Kim Poliquin Director SHIFTboston, Editor and Director

Meghan Maupin, Laboratory Technician at Form Labs, MIT Media Lab,  Contributor

Elizabeth Tereshko, Research Analyst at Northeastern University, Contributor

Dr. Zenovia Toloudi, Professor of the Graduate Thesis Laboratory, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Contributor

Special Thanks to Susan Yoo and Kate Spalla

Editor Emeritus: Lin Yang,  Graduate Student  MIT SA+P



Embracing a Shift: Boston as the City of the Future

By: Kim Poliquin SHIFTboston Director and Blog Editor. This letter was prepared for and published in ‘I Want to Be Metropolitan’ by PRAUD.

There is a growing hunger for change in cities around the world and this desire will prove to be the spark that ignites a new design era. But where will this new epoch take root? Could Boston become the new living, breathing mini-metropolis and city of the future? The answer depends largely on whether or not our design community is capable of influencing a city-wide shift in thinking.

Can we as designers challenge others to think beyond the constraints of tradition? How about a free-fall ride in the slot of the John Hancock tower? How about turning the Fort Point Channel into a large swimming pool? How about ziplines from building to building downtown as a new net-zero carbon form of transportation? How about turning the Filene’s Basement wreck at Downtown Crossing into a large underwater diving tank?

The ever-expanding global network is opening up new links for collaboration and at the same time placing enormous amounts of information at our fingertips. And as social media diversifies us, a shared vision is bringing us together in ways that would never exist without these tools. A new slipstream network is inspiring designers and visionaries worldwide to embrace a common vision that seeks to improve the human urban experience by merging design, ecology and new technology. The desire to make new ideas come to life is bringing individuals, cultures and disciplines together online to share information. This shift in process is producing a new generation of tech-savvy, experimental designers that are on the cusp of igniting a new design era. This movement will flood our cities with unimaginable new forms of experiential installations, architecture, landscape and infrastructure. Boston’s rich history as a leader in innovation makes it an ideal testing ground for this new era. SHIFTboston is here to fuel the movement. We seek to force this new wave of design through governing bodies and into the community to make Boston a leader once again.

Since initial establishment in 2008, SHIFTboston has been engaging design professionals around the world and capturing design solutions for the future urban environment. We have reached almost every state in the United States and over 40 countries throughout the world. While our commitment to cultivating a new cityscape is inspiring a shift in the Boston community, we encourage others to get on board to join us in our quest.