Somerville, MA

Millennia ago, glaciation left a series of drumlins running west to east across the landscape of what would become Somerville. These ridges would later become known as the „Seven Hills“ of Somerville. These hills rise from the floodplain of the Mystic River, and generally run west to east, providing for beautiful vistas of Boston to the south and Medford/Everett to the north. Physical boundaries are also defined by prominent waterways: the Mystic River to the north, its tributary Alewife Brook to the west, and the Miller’s River to the southeast.

Somerville’s commercial property is not concentrated in a recognized downtown central business district but instead is spread over many different nodes or corridors of business activity. The difference in character ranges from the vibrant nightlife, live music and theaters of Davis Square to the large scale retail and highway access of Assembly Square. This spatial allocation is directly related to the early influence of rail and streetcar systems which caused economic activity to occur at stops. The other key factor in the creation of commercial squares is the area’s topography. The numerous hills making up Somerville’s landscape determined where road networks would allow neighborhood commercial development. Davis Square is home to the Somerville Theatre, which houses the Somerville branch of the Museum of Bad Art and plays host to the Independent Film Festival of Boston each spring. P.A.’s Lounge is a live music venue in the city.

The Somerville Community Path is a tree-lined rail trail that runs from Lowell Street to the Cambridge border near Davis Square. It connects with the Alewife Linear Park, which in turn connects with the Minuteman Bikeway and the Fitchburg Cutoff Path. Community activists hope to extend the path eastward to Lechmere Square, which would connect with the Charles River Bike Paths and the proposed East Coast Greenway. In May 2013, construction began on an extension of the path between Cedar and Lowell streets, which was completed in 2015. As of 2010, the city has a total of 63 parks, playgrounds, playing fields, and community gardens.