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The future of Vision place and technology

Working towards a better tomorrow by innovating, rule-breaking, and disrupting for good.
Quality of Life

Projects that improve the quality of life for people in our communities.

Rafi learns from the community, supports and empowers people of all backgrounds to grow within their environment while learning about the wider world. We understand the context and history of the communities we support, executing programs and facilitating growth that make an impact. Also, we’re driven to improve the environment and create spaces that support various programs within the communities to which we work.

APPROACH

Sustainability as a Lifestyle

Rafi prioritizes improving the quality of life of our tenants and the surrounding communities. In our multifamily projects, we give careful consideration to living conditions, innovation, and respect for the local neighborhood. As commercial developer, we help companies pilot new sustainable technologies and inventions. We challenge project designers and engineers to come up with sustainable solutions that are equitable and financial feasible.

In collaboration with tenants and city partners, we try out new concepts and ideas across our residential and commercial assets, including mobility pilots alternative energy solutions, and native plant landscape to increase biodiversity.

Tactical Urbanism
Also known as DIY urbanism, planning-by-doing, or urban prototyping, tactical urbanism is all about action. This approach refers to a city-led, organization-led, and/or citizen-led approach to neighborhood building using short-term, low-cost, and scalable interventions to catalyze long-term change. In fall of 2018, Rafi launched the Somernova Tactical Urbanism Project; since then, many areas at Somernova have been repurposed, made more accessible, and activated with art and gathering spaces.

SomeEV Micromobility Pilot
Are multimodal alternatives the new normal? This is the question Rafi sought to answer in a first-of-its-kind mobility pilot with Somernova tenant SomeEV, designed to test the demand for electric vehicles and micro-mobility alternatives. Good for the planet and good for you.

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Co-design approach
Invented, piloted, prototyped, and taken to market at Somernova, the Lightning Bug (FLYCYCLE) rack senses the approach and presence of bikes, interacting with people as it records data about bike racks use. It’s a next-generation bike rack designed by cyclists for properties that people bike to.

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CENTERING
CULTURE
BY DRIVING
INNOVATION
AT EVERY LEVEL

Inspired by the energy and creativity of tech. Passionate about driving change.

Innovation

Sparking new ideas to improve cities, reinvigorate neighborhoods, and meet people where they are.

We value creativity and innovation, and we take pride in cultivating diverse, inclusive ecosystems where new inventions take shape and breakthroughs are born.

APPROACH

Innovation at Somernova

Rafi is passionate about technology and creativity. With Somernova, we created an innovation hub that supports a wide range of groundbreaking research and cultivates an ongoing culture of collaboration and experimentation.

Two prominent tech incubators — Greentown Labs and the Engine by MIT — make their homes in Somernova. They chose our campus because of the vibrant and eclectic network, flexible space and amenities, and proximity to Somerville’s talent.

Somernova is a dynamic place designed for people and tenants to innovate and grow. And from youth outreach activities to tactical interventions, they also help shape its evolution.

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An Eclectic Community
Somernova is an ecosystem of innovative “tough tech” companies, including a chocolatier, a microbrewery, a restaurant with an 18-course tasting menu, and a rock climbing gym. Innovation isn’t just about science, it’s also about art, exploration, curiosity, relationships, and community.

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The Engine by MIT moves to Somernova
Founded in 2016 by MIT, The Engine is a for-profit company that runs a roughly $660 million venture fund. In 2021 it expanded into a 42,000-square-foot space in Somernova, joining a cluster of climate technology-focused companies nearby.
This move helped to expand the Engine’s network and also brought the Engine closer to Greentown Labs so that the organizations can continue to work together to support climate tech.
We are really excited to be here — really exciting to be in Somerville — and [we’re] just grateful to be around all of these wonderful entrepreneurs,” said Emily Knight, Vice President of the Engine at MIT.

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Greentown Labs, Working Towards a More Sustainable World
The largest climate tech startup incubator in North America, Greentown Labs (GTL) is a community of climate action pioneers working to design a more sustainable world. With its headquarters in Somerville, and a base at Somernova, GTL brings together startups, corporations, investors, policymakers, and many others with a focus on scaling climate solutions.
Driven by the mission of providing startups with the resources, knowledge, connections, and equipment they need to thrive, Greentown Labs offers lab space, shared office space, a machine shop, an electronics lab, software and business resources, and a large network of corporate customers, investors, and more.

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Form Energy opens its headquarters at Somernova
Form Energy is “transforming the grid” with a new class of cost-effective, multi-day energy storage systems that will enable a reliable and fully renewable electric grid year-round.
Form Energy was developed inside the Greentown Labs incubator at Somernova. When Form needed to expand the project to continue its mission, the company decided to stay at Somernova and take advantage of the campus’s expansive workspaces, powerful tech network, and proximity to MIT and Cambridge.

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