Winter 2011 – Editor’s Note

Scan the “About Somerville” section of the city’s web site, and a few statistics jump out:

  • Somerville is the most densely populated city in New England.
  • Only New York City has more artists per capita than Somerville does.

It got us wondering: How does this innovative population confront the practical challenges of population density? Phrased another way: How does everyone create enough space for themselves and their belongings? Escaping a crowded, clutter-filled apartment is easy in the summertime. But with winter’s arrival – and human hibernation in full swing – exploring the practical design of domestic interiors is a timely topic.

With help from our friends at Closet Solutions (46 White St) and Centrepoint Architects (1 Fitchburg St), reporter Shannon Cain Arnold found places with elegant, space-saving designs (p. 16). Photographer Kelly MacDonald captured the visual magic of these homes.

One of the residents in Shannon’s article, Polly Pook, uses collected rain water to nourish her plants and humidify her home in the winter. It’s the classic example of a green solution. If that’s the sort of sustainability you’re into, you’ll love Thalia Tringo’s story, “Get Your Thrift On” (p. 19). Thalia gives a complete rundown of Somerville’s resources for buying, selling, reselling, consigning or donating. Clip this story and put it on your fridge. You’ll use it!

Quite a few of the resources Thalia cites are Davis Square neighbors of the restaurant Foundry on Elm (255 Elm St), which opened in September. Now that Foundry’s been around for a few months, we felt it was time to put it to the test – specifically, we wanted to see how it stacked up against a non-Somerville gastropub. With her fork at the ready, food writer Lingbo Li went on a mission to see whether Foundry would hold on to her heart in the face of comely competition (p. 22).

In previous Scout editions, we’ve investigated the conditions causing entrepreneurs to locate their businesses in Cambridge (as opposed to Somerville). This time around, we’re profiling Somerville resident Jason Gracilieri, whose Cambridge-based startup, TurningArt, taps into Somerville’s artist population (p. 20). Some scribes and journalists have called TurningArt a “Netflix for Art.” We examined that label and spoke to two Somerville artists, Pauline Lim and Antonietta Kies, whose work is for sale on

In the Fall 2010 Scout, we launched a four-part series exploring education options in Somerville. Four parents gave us their reasons for choosing a public, private or charter school. Now we’ve turned our attention to a broader question: How are Somerville’s schools teaching students to be good citizens? (“The Kids Are All Right,” p. 14). The article just skims the surface of what all our schools are doing. Be sure to check our blog – the front page of – for more stories on the subject.  –Ilan Mochari

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