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Design a Better Boston Are you disappointed with the state of Boston's current architecture/development? Think you have a better idea? Post it here.

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Old 12-19-2014, 12:26 PM   #21
FK4
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Re: Mayor Walsh Calls for Better Architecture/Urban Design

Yep. I hate him. Even the media sticks with puff pieces about him.
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Old 01-09-2015, 05:21 PM   #22
whighlander
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Mayor Walsh Architect Critic

Today's Herald has a story about comments Mayor Walsh made that encourages bold, risk-taking design
http://www.bostonherald.com/business...ks_bold_design
Quote:
Developers take note as Walsh seeks bold design

Friday, January 9, 2015
By:
Paul Restuccia
Mayor Martin J. Walsh struck a chord last month when he told an audience at the Boston Chamber of Commerce that the Hub needed more innovative architecture.

The city is enjoying a major building boom, yet the design of many recent buildings is bland and boxy, or as the mayor called it, “merely functional.”

Walsh urged developers to “reach beyond your comfort zone” to create new buildings that reflect the city’s culture of innovation. “Boston can do better,” he said......

“We also need to change some of the industry standards on floor-plate sizes, elevator cores and corridors that constrict better design,” said Tim Love, principal of Hub architecture firm Utile and president of the Boston Society of Architects.

Love, whose firm has done a lot of innovative architecture in South Boston, says city regulators need to be tougher on changes to approved projects that are value-engineered to cut costs, often to the detriment of design details.

He also suggests developers of bigger projects hold design competitions, which would spur larger architectural firms to add some emerging designers to their teams to inject some fresh ideas.

“The talent is here. It’s been here,” said Elizabeth Whittaker, founder of Merge Architects, who is getting widespread attention for her bold designs such as the Marginal Street Lofts in East Boston. “And more and more of it will stay here if emerging architects begin to trust that they will be able to engage in more contemporary work in the city.”

“Many developers do not have a design background and tend to be risk-averse when it comes to architecture,” adds Kamran Zahedi, president of Urbanica.....

He says that innovative design is possible for the thousands of moderately priced housing units the mayor wants to see built in the city.

“We should take the example of countries like Germany and the Netherlands, who have been able to produce mass housing with innovative architecture within tight budgets,” Zahedi said. “It would be sad if we do not also create beautiful 21st century architecture here in Boston.”
Sounds like some of the folks on the ArchBos Forum

#It's not Tommy's Town anymore
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Old 01-10-2015, 01:33 PM   #23
whighlander
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Re: Mayor Walsh Calls for Better Architecture/Urban Design

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Originally Posted by vanshnookenraggen View Post
TOD and increasing density in Dorchester and Roxbury is really all you can do to put a dent into the affordable housing problem. Even then you face rampant gentrification. Large projects like Assembly Sq or Northpoint aren't the answer (especially since they are primarily luxury developments). It's going to be the small scale contractor/developer/owner that will save the city but they need the city to make that happen. The city needs more 5 story apartment buildings; cheap to put up and can hold more people on land where single family homes are now. It might not be something that people want to admit but that's how the city needs to grow. And it's got to happen in places like Allston/Brighton, Roxbury, and Dorchester. It's happening now in South Boston and from the looks of what's going up it's exactly the development the city needs all over. The trick will be for the city to both encourage this type of development while still addressing park space and school space. That's what the BRA should be doing!
Van -- I'm not sure if you know about the history of truncated buildings in Boston/Cambridge

During the Great Depression a lot of the construction work in the city was actually deconstruction work. Owners were taxed for commercial properties -- even if they were multifamily residences -- by the gross Sq Ft

So if you had a part of a 3 or 4 floor building that had been vacant for a year or so say 1933 -- you might just take the top floor off so that you could cut your tax by say 25% to 33% -- then later you might do it again

And since the construction companies were hurting they might do the job for the salvage value of the lumber, etc.

If you look at the old city directories this was quite common -- as is the look of quite a few structures that look obviously short

So one partial solution to the housing needs is the return of the missing stories

All of the zoning in the residential areas could be updated to allow by right -- the addition of on top of existing retail / office of 1 to 2 stories of multifamily housing

The By Right Zoning would allow the process to occur at reduced cost for lawyers and counter-bureaucratic consultants -- and hence some of the lowest cost per sq. ft.
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Old 01-10-2015, 08:29 PM   #24
Matthew
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Re: Mayor Walsh Calls for Better Architecture/Urban Design

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Originally Posted by whighlander View Post
So one partial solution to the housing needs is the return of the missing stories

All of the zoning in the residential areas could be updated to allow by right -- the addition of on top of existing retail / office of 1 to 2 stories of multifamily housing

The By Right Zoning would allow the process to occur at reduced cost for lawyers and counter-bureaucratic consultants -- and hence some of the lowest cost per sq. ft.
Thoroughly agree -- but there's a reason it hasn't happened.

Would you care to fight off the NIMBY hordes with us? You know, the ones that emerge from their hovels to shriek: "NO!!! NOT ANOTHER FLOOR! WON'T ANYONE THINK OF THE TRAFFIC/PARKING/CHILDREN/SHADOWS/LIGHTS?"
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Old 01-13-2015, 03:43 PM   #25
JeffDowntown
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Re: Mayor Walsh Calls for Better Architecture/Urban Design

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Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
Thoroughly agree -- but there's a reason it hasn't happened.

Would you care to fight off the NIMBY hordes with us? You know, the ones that emerge from their hovels to shriek: "NO!!! NOT ANOTHER FLOOR! WON'T ANYONE THINK OF THE TRAFFIC/PARKING/CHILDREN/SHADOWS/LIGHTS?"
Actually, there is a much more central financial issue. When you add those stories back to the old building, you have to do it at CURRENT CODE for the entire building. This turns out to be extremely expensive in terms of cost per sq. ft. So unless you are planning on making the building all luxury units, you simply cannot pay the freight.
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Old 01-13-2015, 03:46 PM   #26
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Re: Mayor Walsh Calls for Better Architecture/Urban Design

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Thoroughly agree -- but there's a reason it hasn't happened.

Would you care to fight off the NIMBY hordes with us? You know, the ones that emerge from their hovels to shriek: "NO!!! NOT ANOTHER FLOOR! WON'T ANYONE THINK OF THE TRAFFIC/PARKING/CHILDREN/SHADOWS/LIGHTS?"
How does one change zoning in Boston? Wait for the BRA to decide it is time to form a committee? Suffolk County ballot initiative? Throwing down at every meeting for every building is not working.
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Old 01-13-2015, 04:11 PM   #27
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Re: Mayor Walsh Calls for Better Architecture/Urban Design

BRA's evidently updating all zoning codes as we speak. They've got an intern position posted if you'd like to help them do it for free.
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Old 01-13-2015, 04:37 PM   #28
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Re: Mayor Walsh Calls for Better Architecture/Urban Design

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BRA's evidently updating all zoning codes as we speak. They've got an intern position posted if you'd like to help them do it for free.
Not being a graduate student in city planning and having gainful employment both make this not a possibility. I'll look out for any opportunities for public comment.
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Old 01-16-2015, 12:36 PM   #29
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Re: Mayor Walsh Calls for Better Architecture/Urban Design

Walsh files legislation for later closing times
http://bostinno.streetwise.co/2015/0...all-past-2-am/
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Old 01-16-2015, 05:23 PM   #30
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Re: Mayor Walsh Calls for Better Architecture/Urban Design

From the above link:

Quote:
More specifically, this bill aims to streamline the licensing and regulatory processes in the following manner:
•Eliminate the Common Victuallers (CV) license requirement for non-alcohol businesses wishing to operate during standard business hours;
•Eliminate specialty licenses for billiard tables, bowling alleys, automatic amusement devices and fortune tellers;
•Determine at what capacity certain establishments can be exempt from the Non-Live Entertainment License requirements;
•Determine at what capacity certain establishments can be exempt from the Live Entertainment License requirements for instrumental/vocal music; and•Allow restaurants and bars to remain open past 2 a.m.
This is all fanastic. Boston has lost so many bowling alleys and pool halls recently. Really sucks. Part of it is probably cultural (people nowadays just wanna simper over gastropub cuisine and take pictures of their meals on their smartphones instead of actually going out and DOING stuff, but Im sure part of the demise of Boston Billiards, Mily Way and the like is licensing. Good to see all of these proposals. Now, what I've never understood is what factors beyond neighborhood bitching prevent NON alcoholic places staying open late? Because at the end of the day, it's the lack of those places to go in the wee hours, more than just bars, that really sets this city back.
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Old 01-16-2015, 06:40 PM   #31
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Re: Mayor Walsh Calls for Better Architecture/Urban Design

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Originally Posted by FK4 View Post
From the above link:



This is all fanastic. Boston has lost so many bowling alleys and pool halls recently. Really sucks. Part of it is probably cultural (people nowadays just wanna simper over gastropub cuisine and take pictures of their meals on their smartphones instead of actually going out and DOING stuff, but Im sure part of the demise of Boston Billiards, Mily Way and the like is licensing. Good to see all of these proposals. Now, what I've never understood is what factors beyond neighborhood bitching prevent NON alcoholic places staying open late? Because at the end of the day, it's the lack of those places to go in the wee hours, more than just bars, that really sets this city back.
Everyone should email their state rep and CC Baker, De Leo and Rosenberg and try to push this as hard as we can. In my view all these initiatives are no brainers, but apparently De Leo blocked it last time around.
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