With cold weather and COVID restrictions, it's harder than ever to stay connected with friends and family. Winter City Kits are loaned portable placemaking kits that contain everything residents need to gather safely outdoors during the winter.
During the pandemic, families have been separated, friends have been distanced from each other, and neighborhood social fabric has been disrupted. The Winter City Kits program addresses these challenges and allows people to come back together safely during the colder months. In the future, the kits will be adapted seasonally for spring, summer, and fall use. We will partner with community organizations to provide the kits for free to families in low-income communities who are often the hardest-hit by the pandemic.
Winter City Kits include chairs, an outdoor heater, waterproof picnic blanket, lanterns, and PPE. Kits can be checked out, like a library book, for the weekend and can be used to reunite families, catch up with friends or enjoy the outdoors in a COVID-safe manner. Once the kits are checked out, the patron can arrange the items in a variety of ways to create a warm and socially-distant outdoor living room.
To test the concept, we used operating funds to purchase the supplies for one kit as an initial pilot for the program. The pilot kit was booked, within the matter of hours, for the first three weekends we made it available. We now want to take this experimental pilot and grow it into a full program that works with our community partners, especially those serving low income neighborhoods. The proposed program would provide kits, software, and technical support to our Winter City Kit host partners in the Greater Boston area.
Funded by Boston, MA (February 2021)