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BRA approves development on Blue Hill Avenue that would include 'contemplative' plaza with no shade or seats

The BRA yesterday approved plans to turn a lot that has been vacant for four decades into 40 units of housing - and a "peace park" with walkways in the shape of a peace symbol at Blue Hill Avenue and Quincy Street.

The Community Builders' proposed Clarion building would also feature space for shops on the first floor.

BRA board members voted unanimously for the $12-million project, but members Ted Landsmark and Mike Monahan questioned how "contemplative" people could get on a plaza with no place to sit or get out of the sun.

BRA staffers and Community Builders' officials said they agreed to make the plaza less friendly to potential sitters - and to take out the proposed trees - because of concerns from nearby residents that the plaza would become a haven for neighborhood noisemakers and punks after dark. "The community really doesn't want people hanging out after hours," an official said.

However, they added they're hopeful that the commercial space closest to the plaza would be rented to a cafe, which would put out chairs - and possibly even umbrellas - for daytime use.

Monahan also suggested that Community Builders ensure contractors on the project hire students from Madison Park High School for apprentice programs to help learn the building trades.

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Comments

ummm....

I can understand how the corner of Blue Hill and Holburn could be called a vacant lot (it certainly looks like one on street view), but... there already IS a park on the corner of Quincy and Blue Hill. Jermaine Goffigan is an unofficial park, true.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/06/01/confl...

Tell me: When they rip out all those trees, will they put them in a tree museum?

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I think it would be nice to re-do and maintain that park, but leave it in memory of Jermaine Goffigan.

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I suppose people could contemplate how nice it would be if there were benches in the plaza.

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"I wish the city hadn't given up on the free-sunscreen program so soon after repeated vandalism"

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If we don't deliberately make it unpleasant, unpleasant people might come there!

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We want to have a park... but we don't want people to use it...

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A few small parks near me have been re-designed in the past 20 yrs or so, with the newer designs removing walls and other elements that made it easier to hide from, for example, a passing police car.

That said, they still have a little bit of shade and some single-seats, if not benches.

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When crime rates were much higher and many measures were taken to discourage loitering in order to decrease drug dealing, public drinking, fights, and other crime.

Since then, architects have been trying to undo designs to thwart such public gatherings. Except, now, in a high crime area, we find the desire again. There are new tools today, though, like video surveillance to go with bright lighting to manage criminal activity while not making places so unfriendly.

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Take a look at the fairly new Jill Brown-Rhone Park in Cambridge (Main Street at Mass Ave, in Lafayette Square) for the right way to make an urban plaza park that people will actually enjoy using.

Or just spend a few hours watching how Dewey Square gets used.

Perhaps movable chairs might work here? They were recently added to Kenney Park in Davis Square, and people really enjoy them.

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That particular corner is not Davis square - you're much more likely to be dealing with gun-toting gangbangers than macbook-toting hipsters. And, unlike armchair social justice crusaders whose hearts always bleed from a safe distance, the locals don't want armed gangbangers congregating right under their windows.

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but I didn't hear anyone in Cambridge say "Let's make our brand-new park so uncomfortable nobody will want to use it."

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Central Square is like the servant quarter zone between Harvard and MIT.You get brawling wino's by day and actual crime, when it happens, by night.

I lived there for 5 or so years and even got mugged on my doorstep when I was walking home drunk. Aah, those were the days. I told the mugger I was broke and useless and he should find some yuppie to mug.

Jill Brown-Rhone is a nifty little thing but it isn't exactly blessed with shade. I usually sit there on weekend mornings when I'm chowing a sausage burrito before going to Star.

It is a high foot traffic, high value area. I don't see how this comparison method is applicable. Each site has it's own set of characteristics and issues. It isn't modular plug and play Sims.

It's probably more useful to think like Frank Lloyd Wright and sleep on the site than invoking these armchair city planner conceits.

My main credential is 50 years of association with the City, I'm here now. Oh, and I have Ian McHarg's opus, "Design With Nature." sitting around.

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this is a beautiful and fun film about how public spaces are used. It comes down to, if they don't have seating they're not used.

https://vimeo.com/111488563

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Can BRA be mindful of the families that work hard everyday to support their family, but are unable to pay $2000 in market rent. The price of living is way to expensive for the average family. BRA builds these apartments but only exect people with section 8 or the rich (not the in betweens). Someone like myself do not qulify for goverment assitance and have to pay top dollar for everything because of the income guidelines that the government makes up. STOP BUILDING THESE HIGH PRICE APARTMENTS THAT WE CANNOT AFFORD. $1800-$2000 IS NOT AFFORDABLE LIVING!

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You do grasp how supply and demand works, right? I mean, when the supply of apartments increases to the point of demand, costs will stabilize.

I'll explain it to you using Boston's geography. People get priced out of the South End and move to Jamaica Plain, raising rents/house prices. The people priced out by the South End people move to Roslindale, raising rents/house prices. The people priced out by the Roslindale people move to Hyde Park, again raising rents/housing prices. The people priced out of Hyde Park head to various suburbs, probably pricing out the locals there. On the other hand, if the South End demand were met by new apartments that cost way too much, the dominoes would not fall.

Or conversely, if the units are overpriced, a market correction will take place. Just hope you don't own the property when that happens.

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It's great that costs will eventually stabilize, somewhere well over $2-300K per bedroom, but that doesn't help. Because by the time income catches up to that the prices will have risen again and again. Really it pains me to say this but I wish this city would have some kind of blight take hold just to force prices down again to pre-2000 levels [where our wages are all stuck]. Because until that happens [or unless telecommuting becomes so prevalent we can all live in Wisconsin or such] virtually nobody in the $50-100k income bracket is going to be able to buy property.

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Unless somehow we got developers going all Miami, Las Vegas, or Dublin on the residential real estate market.

The truth is that unless developments like this are built, we will eventually be talking about the yuppification of Grove Hall. It's happened in DC, so don't bet against it. The rents will probably not go down, but hopefully they will stabilize so wages will be able to keep up.

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Is more than enough for a $400k condo, plenty of them all over the city.

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