MASCO: Celebrating 40 Years of Service to the LMA

The early 1970s was a time of advancement and growth in medicine at hospitals in Boston and around the country. New technology for patient care and research required additional space. In the densely-packed Longwood area, this rapid development contributed to traffic and parking problems. A handful of leaders at the hospitals and Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health and School of Dental Medicine recognized that the lack of coordinated area planning was fostering a hodge-podge approach to building and development, so they worked to establish a group that would transcend organizational boundaries and address the needs and best interests of the area as a whole. In 1972 their efforts led to the creation of MASCO, the Medical, Academic and Scientific Community Organization. The 11 founding medical members pledged to work together to focus on “solving problems related to inefficient land use, parking, traffic, and duplication of services…”

Better Together

Today, the LMA is a thriving hub of medicine, research, culture and religion. For forty years we have focused on fostering collaboration among our members (now 24 medical, academic and scientific organizations) on issues of access, sustainability, cost-savings, emergency preparedness, infrastructure, and area planning. Our achievements can be found all around the LMA:

  • vehicle and pedestrian signs that define the area and help guide drivers and walkers to their destinations
  • wider streets with fewer obstructions to traffic
  • bus shelters, benches, bicycle racks, outdoor recycling bins and solar-powered trash compactors
  • shuttles that reduce traffic and carbon emissions by carrying employees from offsite parking to their jobs and back-and-forth from remote offices to hospital main campuses
  • preserved and renovated precious green space, including enhanced public landscaping with the addition of trees, plants and shrubs
  • expanded course and social offerings, residence and meal options and other benefits for students of the six colleges that form the Colleges of the Fenway
  • a joint emergency preparedness program that serves as a model for other cities
  • expanded commuting alternatives -- carpools, Hubway bike sharing, improved public transit service
  • convenient child care options
  • coordination of construction-related issues that could cause traffic delays
  • better access for walkers, bicyclists (including Hubway bike sharing stations) and transit riders
  • cost-saving contracts for elevator maintenance and repair, travel, courier services, and supplies
  • coordinated area planning that follows Smart Growth Policies and considers issues of access, sustainability and the needs of the overall area
  • encouraging initiatives that make the LMA more sustainable – through knowledge sharing of best practices and coordination of resources and services such as waste management

A Growing Economic Engine

The LMA is an internationally-known center for medical care and clinical research. Hospitals provide care for 2.4 million outpatient visits and 103,000 inpatient admissions each year and demand is growing. Research conducted in the LMA attracts more than $1.03 billion in funding from the National Institutes of Health and is leading to better treatments for a host of diseases. Academic institutions in the LMA are educating the next generation of leaders. The LMA is a vital economic engine for the city and the state: more than 47,000 people work here and an average of more than 1,100 new jobs are generated each year.

Improving Access Today and Tomorrow

Though LMA growth and development is consistent with city and state smart growth strategies, increasing numbers of people in the area each day – patients, employees, students and visitors – means that access continues to be a challenge. Decreasing congestion and improving access is still one of MASCO’s most important missions on behalf of pedestrians, bicyclists, automobiles, buses, emergency vehicles and trucks.

While we continue to address transportation needs every day, it’s clear that the simpler solutions are becoming scarce. We need to look ahead to ensure that our sidewalks, roads, public transit, and parking options will accommodate the needs of the commuters of tomorrow.

Developing a Vision for the LMA of 2050

Together with our members, we are working to create a shared vision for the LMA for the next 40 years – 2050 and beyond. We will identify common objectives to help guide us as we build and renovate facilities. What will transportation look like in the future? What will tomorrow’s patients, employees, students and visitors require? How can we plan the infrastructure necessary to support a thriving and dynamic LMA of 2050? Our role as stewards of the LMA is more important now than ever before as we work together to ensure a thriving and dynamic LMA of 2050.