archBOSTON.org

Go Back   archBOSTON.org > Boston's Built Environment > Development Projects

Development Projects New urban and/or architectural developments in Boston metro.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 01-24-2007, 12:15 PM   #21
DudeUrSistersHot
banished
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 315
Re: Well, others might disagree about that ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by vanshnookenraggen
Quote:
Originally Posted by IMAngry
One question I have, and maybe it's naivete, is, if we build really nice homes for the poor, are we basically throwing in the towel, and basically making a permanent underclass? Like, we're saying, okay, we'll make your homes nice, so you can stay there, forever! Yay!

Should the city be a landlord?
This is actually a sentiment that has been echoed down through the ages. I am currently reading a book now called "Public Housing In Boston: From The Puritans to the Projects" It is dry as hell and the author really doesn't tell a story well but the one thing that really stood out was how every generation knew they needed to do something to house the poor but they for some reason didn't think that building nice, proper homes was the answer.

I have thought a while about this concept and I think that it is a flawed assumption. We (people from above the underclasses) tend so see the poor as something different; there is something wrong with them. They have failed at the game of life as it would seem. Good homes are reserved for people who earn them.

I happen to think that the reason that public housing didn't work in America is this basic assumption which totally disregards a basic sociological belief that a person who is cared about by their society (city, peers, etc) will in turn care about their society. Here in NYC there is a housing project along the East River that, to save money, was designed without exterior walls in the hallways. It uses a chain link fence. It is 30 stories tall. How would you feel if you had to live in a place where when you opened your door you were greeted with not only a cold blast of air off the river but a 30 floor drop down to a busy highway?

When we say "you are poor so you don't deserve a nice home unless you work for it" what we are really saying is "we don't give a fuck about you." How are we to expect that these people are to become productive members of society when society doesn't care about them?

There was an architecture prof. down in Alabama or Mississippi who would, along with his grad students, build homes out of insane materials like old carpet samples and tires. When he was done he would donate them to a homeless or poor family. He got a lot of flack for it because people assumed that poor families either didn't deserve such nice places OR that they would ruin them OR that they, because they didn't earn the house, wouldn't appreciate them the same way someone would if they had earned it. What they found when interviewing the residents was that they were truly happy because they not only had a home (the American dream, right?) but they had one totally unique and they treasured it.

I don't at all mean this as a personal attack at you, IMAngry, but at the prevailing feelings toward the poor in this country. I firmly believe that the only way to build public housing is to build it to the same standards as middle class housing. If we as a society find that too abhorrent an idea to pay for it with public funds then we at least have charity and religious organizations to fall back on, but this is obviously not enough.
An interesting, and extremely wrong post.

Think about this not from the point of view of the poor, but from the point of view of the middle class.

Imagine two scenarios here. You grow up in poverty. Despite this, you work hard in school and move up the ladder. You become an electrician and start your own business. You are by no means rich, but you are solidly in the middle class. You get a house in the working class suburb of Quincy.

The other person grows up in an upper-middle class family. He does no work in school, and drops out at the age of 16. He lives a life of crime, doing drugs, drinking, working at McDonald's occasionally - when he feels like showing up. This person is given a middle-class style house next door to the electrician.

Is that right? Is that moral? No. The second person doesn't even deserve a shitty housing project in Charlestown. He deserves to be out on the street.

We are what we make of ourselves. Nothing more, nothing less. And those who make nothing of themselves deserve nothing. Those who make a little something for themselves deserve a little something. And those who do a lot for themselves deserve a lot. It is a choice that all of us make in life. For some it may be the luck of the draw. But it is not society's, nor is it government's, responsibility to subsidize those who make less than others. It is up to those people to subsidize themselves. Charities and religious groups can provide a good base to help ambitious low-status people work their way up the ladder, and sort out the trash from those who want to get ahead. When government gets involved, it merely provides a haven for the trash.

There are other arguments to be made as well - such as the fact that all this affordable housing and these housing projects and section eights raise the overall cost of real estate by taking supply that would otherwise be market rate, severely hurting the middle class. Also, when middle class tax dollars are taken to pay for these projects, it is yet more money taken out of their pockets.

We have to realize that those at the bottom, while they are not treated the same as those in France, still have a pretty good standard of living. And they have significantly more social mobility than people in other countries. If I, a full time 17 year old high school student, can make close to the median household income of Boston, then I think people can afford to pay their own housing costs.
DudeUrSistersHot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2007, 12:27 PM   #22
Merper
Senior Member
 
Merper's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Boston's South End
Posts: 255
...

... not everyone living in these places are of 'working age'.
Merper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2007, 01:01 PM   #23
PerfectHandle
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 219
Quote:
If I, a full time 17 year old high school student, can make close to the median household income of Boston, then I think people can afford to pay their own housing costs.
Dude, your worldview always starts with the assumption that everyone else in the world (like your drug addict example) has a) good enough health (including psychiatric) to earn a good living, b) enough education to earn a good living and c) no more obstacles to making a good living than a suburban 17-year-old who is subsidized by his parents.

Consequently, you assume that anyone who is not making a good living must not be trying. Well guess what, most people on public assistance are not former upper middle class dropouts receiving a middle class house next to a hard-working electrician.

The most common cause of bankruptcy in the United States is unanticipated medical problems. Is it fair for society to deny help to a 52-year-old formerly successful electrician who can't work anymore because he had to have his leg amputated as a complication of diabetes? Does that person have any less claim to a decent place to live than his healthy electrician friends?
PerfectHandle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2007, 01:08 PM   #24
IMAngry
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 233
Oh ... never mind

Why would I even bother to respond to what he said ...

I am never posting a "sociological" question, again.

Thanks again for the tip on the public housing in Boston book ... I'm at the Athenaeum right now, reading it!
IMAngry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2007, 01:43 PM   #25
vanshnookenraggen
Moderator
 
vanshnookenraggen's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: New York City
Posts: 6,261
Re: Thanks for that ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by IMAngry
I am also currently reading "America's Trillion-Dollar Housing Mistake - The Failure of American Housing Policy" - guess which point of view the author takes? Haha.
I read this a few years back so no wonder I think the way I do.

DudeUrSistersHot: Thank you for completely proving what I was saying about prevailing attitudes.

Ron: You are right. The idea of housing projects was to give middle class families a step up from the slums. Most early projects were designed with basic standards but eventually when the suburbs started to bloom the government decided it wasn't worth keeping the projects up and let them slide.

We think of the projects today as inhuman but at their time they were as cutting edge as the new ICA.

There is a great quote in the book I mentioned, unfortunately I cannot find it so I will paraphrase, basically people do not want to live in a place they think of as a sociological experiment. I worked with a woman who grew up in the Commonwealth projects in Brighton and she told me that as long as she lived there her mother was trying to get her out, and she moved in when they were built.

To bring it all back to the housing the Church has built, I was checking it out on the architects web site and I remember thinking that these were the best public housing units I have seen in a long time. They are not luxury but they are not something to be ashamed of. People who live there will feel like they are climbing the ladder and thus should try harder. I think it is unfair to generalize all poor people as lazy and uncaring. We all deserve a good place to live, some place we can be proud of. Perhapses public housing should be designed as just a stepping stone, but you cannot have a successful journey if your first steps are on unstable footing.
__________________
http://www.vanshnookenraggen.com | http://futurembta.com | http://hyperrealcartography.tumblr.com
brivx: well, my philosophy is: as designers, we make a good theater, we dont direct the play
vanshnookenraggen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2007, 05:11 PM   #26
DudeUrSistersHot
banished
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 315
damn commies
DudeUrSistersHot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2007, 08:14 PM   #27
LeTaureau
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Paris
Posts: 205
Vanshnookenraggen, I completely agree with your statements, and thank you for posting them so clairvoyantly. The truth is, we are a product of our surroundings, and as individuals, we seek to align our core principles with the places we choose to live, and that could be a drug infested crack den, brownstone mansion or sprawling McMansion. Each of these domiciles speaks of a different person. But, in the case of public housing, one usually doesn't have the choice of their ideal space, as described by the horrid example you provided with the chain-link fence hallways. What kind of environment is that to live in?

The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton is a good book that addresses the connection between the built environment and human psychology. I recommend the read.


DudeYourSistersHot, I suggest you read a short novel, Maggie, Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane. It may change your perception a bit about poverty.
LeTaureau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2007, 10:22 PM   #28
IMAngry
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 233
A better suggestion ...

Quote:
DudeYourSistersHot, I suggest you read a short novel, Maggie, Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane. It may change your perception a bit about poverty.
No, might I suggest a better book for DudeYourSistersHot, What Color Is The Sky In Your World?.
IMAngry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2007, 10:36 PM   #29
KentXie
Senior Member
 
KentXie's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Brighton
Posts: 3,836
Re: Well, others might disagree about that ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by DudeUrSistersHot
An interesting, and extremely wrong post.

Think about this not from the point of view of the poor, but from the point of view of the middle class.

Imagine two scenarios here. You grow up in poverty. Despite this, you work hard in school and move up the ladder. You become an electrician and start your own business. You are by no means rich, but you are solidly in the middle class. You get a house in the working class suburb of Quincy.

The other person grows up in an upper-middle class family. He does no work in school, and drops out at the age of 16. He lives a life of crime, doing drugs, drinking, working at McDonald's occasionally - when he feels like showing up. This person is given a middle-class style house next door to the electrician.

Is that right? Is that moral? No. The second person doesn't even deserve a shitty housing project in Charlestown. He deserves to be out on the street.

We are what we make of ourselves. Nothing more, nothing less. And those who make nothing of themselves deserve nothing. Those who make a little something for themselves deserve a little something. And those who do a lot for themselves deserve a lot. It is a choice that all of us make in life. For some it may be the luck of the draw. But it is not society's, nor is it government's, responsibility to subsidize those who make less than others. It is up to those people to subsidize themselves. Charities and religious groups can provide a good base to help ambitious low-status people work their way up the ladder, and sort out the trash from those who want to get ahead. When government gets involved, it merely provides a haven for the trash.

There are other arguments to be made as well - such as the fact that all this affordable housing and these housing projects and section eights raise the overall cost of real estate by taking supply that would otherwise be market rate, severely hurting the middle class. Also, when middle class tax dollars are taken to pay for these projects, it is yet more money taken out of their pockets.

We have to realize that those at the bottom, while they are not treated the same as those in France, still have a pretty good standard of living. And they have significantly more social mobility than people in other countries. If I, a full time 17 year old high school student, can make close to the median household income of Boston, then I think people can afford to pay their own housing costs.
Though for the most part I do agree with this, it's the fact that society does not work like this. If all it takes was hard work and determination to make a better life, then hell, the world will be much happier. But that doesn't happen because like you said, it depends on luck, and skills. I mean laborers work hard, if not the hardest in the US for meager wages while those (not all though) that work in offices earn more even though many of them slack off at work (including me). The only reason is that they are more important but not necessarily more hard working. And some people just have no other choice on their jobs because of language barriers or poorer backgound that couldn't afford education (mainly immigrants.)

And if you don't mind me asking, could you tell me what your profession is?
KentXie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2007, 11:09 PM   #30
DudeUrSistersHot
banished
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 315
Re: Well, others might disagree about that ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkFenX
And if you don't mind me asking, could you tell me your profession is?
Business Technology Professional.

Granted, I may have more opportunities given my upbringing than a lot of other people do. And I know I may make an ass out of myself sometimes, because I exaggerate my opinions to the point of offensiveness. But honestly, as a libertarian I don't believe government should be messing in things like housing.
DudeUrSistersHot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2007, 12:29 AM   #31
justin
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by kz1000ps
I posted that exact same view on the old forum three years back! It's a great examples how two architects, working at about the same time and I'd assume independently, produced a nice little formal vista. One of the building is country fair PoMo, the other quite subtle, but they make for the sort of urban ensemble great cities are made of.

justin
justin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2007, 08:32 AM   #32
Joe_Schmoe
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 374
Re: Thanks for that ...

[quote="vanshnookenraggen"]
Quote:
Originally Posted by IMAngry
We all deserve a good place to live, some place we can be proud of.
Personally, I think you can only be proud of something you've accomplished youself and no one would ever be proud of living off the public dole. It seems that part of the problem is that those living in public housing lose their pride because they know they are living off the incomes of others.
It also sticks in my craw to work all day and struggle to pay my rent and know that money is being taken from me to pay someone else's rent as well. And they get to live in the South End!? I don't think anyone has a right to live in the South End. I'd love to live in Lincoln, but I don't think I have a right to it or deserve it.
Joe_Schmoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2007, 09:18 AM   #33
Waldorf
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 536
We all deserve a good place to live, some place to feel safe and comfortable in.

I believe in publicly funded housing - through subsidies (Section 8 ), or by other means. Once people have decent and affordable housing, they can concentrate on getting a job or properly raising their children so that they do not become hooligans roaming the streets.

Affordable housing has a lot of resonating benefits, benefits that I am not going to list here because it is so plainly obvious.
Waldorf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2007, 09:29 AM   #34
Ron Newman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Posts: 8,395
Send a message via AIM to Ron Newman
The South End was a working-class immigrant neighborhood for far longer than it was a rich neighborhood (either in the 19th century or today). People who grew up there should be able to stay there.
Ron Newman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2007, 10:47 AM   #35
DudeUrSistersHot
banished
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 315
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Newman
The South End was a working-class immigrant neighborhood for far longer than it was a rich neighborhood (either in the 19th century or today). People who grew up there should be able to stay there.
That's completely absurd. No one has a right to live anywhere. If you can't afford an area, you have to move. Period. This is America, not France. I live in a "W" town that no impoverished person could ever afford to live in. And I don't care if they grew up here, they are no more entitled to live here than anyone else. If I grow up here and then don't work or don't have a high-paying job, I'm screwed. That's life.

People do not automatically deserve a nice place to live. If you think they do, more to France or Cuba. Have fun. This is America. We have an economic system called capitalism. You might do well to read up on it.
DudeUrSistersHot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2007, 11:41 AM   #36
LeTaureau
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Paris
Posts: 205
Quote:
Originally Posted by DudeUrSistersHot
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Newman
The South End was a working-class immigrant neighborhood for far longer than it was a rich neighborhood (either in the 19th century or today). People who grew up there should be able to stay there.
That's completely absurd. No one has a right to live anywhere. If you can't afford an area, you have to move. Period. This is America, not France. I live in a "W" town that no impoverished person could ever afford to live in. And I don't care if they grew up here, they are no more entitled to live here than anyone else. If I grow up here and then don't work or don't have a high-paying job, I'm screwed. That's life.

People do not automatically deserve a nice place to live. If you think they do, more to France or Cuba. Have fun. This is America. We have an economic system called capitalism. You might do well to read up on it.

Why can't you understand that not everybody values a high paying job as much as you do? It is not the most important thing in life, there are other ways to find happiness. Unfettered consumerism and materialism is an unhealthy way to happiness.

And last time I checked France had a capitalist economy, and the comparison you've made is warrant-less.
LeTaureau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2007, 11:42 AM   #37
PerfectHandle
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 219
Quote:
Originally Posted by DudeUrSistersHot
That's completely absurd. No one has a right to live anywhere. If you can't afford an area, you have to move. Period. This is America, not France. I live in a "W" town that no impoverished person could ever afford to live in. And I don't care if they grew up here, they are no more entitled to live here than anyone else. If I grow up here and then don't work or don't have a high-paying job, I'm screwed. That's life.

People do not automatically deserve a nice place to live. If you think they do, more to France or Cuba. Have fun. This is America. We have an economic system called capitalism. You might do well to read up on it.
I agree with you that we've developed a hyper-active anti-gentrification impulse in Boston that creates grandfathered neighborhood rights that impede improvement in many cases.

However, I think you would do well to try look at our housing situation from a point of view beyond your blinkered "W" town childhood. For one thing, no one's talking about putting poor people in mansions in a "W" town. Subsidized housing is about making sure that people who make around median income or below ("affordable" is usually designated as up to 120% of median income) can afford to live in Massachusetts. Because we haven't created enough of it over the last two decades, people are leaving. That's not good for anyone.

I'd put the blame for this situation less on the development process in Boston (which is slow and inefficient to be sure) and more on your precious "W" towns and others like them that create minimum lot sizes and restrict residential construction for the sake of property values. That's how your "W" town stays rich, and that's why people making middle class salaries have a hard time living there. It's an artificial environment created by suffocating government that has much more in common with the implication you level against your bogeymen France and more justifiably Cuba than it does with unfettered capitalism.

If you want to be a libertarian, at least be an honest libertarian.
PerfectHandle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2007, 11:50 AM   #38
Ron Newman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Posts: 8,395
Send a message via AIM to Ron Newman
Capitalism makes a good servant but a poor master. The needs of real humans should never be subordinated to an economic abstraction.
Ron Newman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2007, 12:48 PM   #39
vanshnookenraggen
Moderator
 
vanshnookenraggen's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: New York City
Posts: 6,261
DudeUrSister: You seem to be quite passionate in your opinion which is nice to see. But perhapses you have been in your "W" town too long. It seems to me that while you have strong beliefs in how the world should work you are missing the point of view of how the other half lives and how the world actually works. When you tell someone that if they don't believe exactly what you do then they should go to France, you aren't helping your cause.

I don't mean to sound like I'm talking down to you, all I mean to do is suggest that you open your mind and accept the fact that there are people out there who come from different backgrounds and different world views who DO have something to contribute and that rejecting their ideas point blank only causes problems.
__________________
http://www.vanshnookenraggen.com | http://futurembta.com | http://hyperrealcartography.tumblr.com
brivx: well, my philosophy is: as designers, we make a good theater, we dont direct the play
vanshnookenraggen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2007, 12:55 PM   #40
Merper
Senior Member
 
Merper's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Boston's South End
Posts: 255
...

... hmm... don't most statistics show that France likely has a BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE for its citizens than most of our country? This is not to be confused with STANDARD OF LIVING, which is just a measurement of how much crap we can buy.

We sure could stand to be a little more like France.
Merper is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
bu medical, grassi, infill, south end

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
T construction news justin Transit and Infrastructure 1042 07-13-2019 01:25 PM
Red Line Construction JoeGallows Transit and Infrastructure 80 05-30-2010 11:07 AM
Moscow Construction palindrome General Architecture & Urban Planning 2 06-23-2007 07:40 AM
Providence Construction mikem978 Greater New England 41 05-23-2007 03:34 PM
Advertising on Construction Sites in NYC cityrecord General Architecture & Urban Planning 6 12-08-2006 01:50 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:26 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.