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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 08-24-2013, 12:10 AM   #1
stick n move
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Government Center Redesign

I think that government center could be improved a lot with 2 government high rise towers added to the area with all of the brick. The bottom left of this picture could hold easily two good sized high rises. If they built some tall, high quality buildings here they would drastically inprove this area especially when the government center garage towers are built, because once those are built there will still be a gap between them and the downtown skyline.

If someone could render two towers here and show some angles of it, and render in the govt garage towers that would be great.

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Old 08-24-2013, 05:34 PM   #2
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Re: Government Center

You could also fit some high-rises right where City Hall and the horizontal portion of the JFK Building. If there is going to be building on City Hall Plaza then just bring back Scollay Square style development.
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Old 08-24-2013, 10:13 PM   #3
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Re: Government Center

Bringing this fountain back would help:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...count=1&ref=nf
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Old 08-25-2013, 11:42 AM   #4
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Re: Government Center

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Bringing this fountain back would help:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...count=1&ref=nf
That fountain has supposedly only worked once or twice. Spending the money to build an operational fountain would be a massive waste.
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Old 08-25-2013, 12:57 PM   #5
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Re: Government Center

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That fountain has supposedly only worked once or twice. Spending the money to build an operational fountain would be a massive waste.
If I remember right it worked for a while. I had lunch there a lot while on co-op. Everything in Boston was falling apart in those days. The city took the easy way out and filled it, just like the fountain on the Common on Tremont St. (not the Brewer)
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Old 08-25-2013, 02:30 PM   #6
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Re: Government Center

Most of the plaza needs to be filled in with buildings. I don't know about towers but they could still have a good public plaza that is better defined, less windswept, and more inviting by giving people a reason to be there.

The space has so much potential. It is just going to take a mayor who sees it to change it. Menino never saw it.
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Old 08-25-2013, 03:57 PM   #7
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Re: Government Center

From a website I maintain, http://intermuseum.wordpress.com/





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Old 08-25-2013, 06:37 PM   #8
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Re: Government Center

Yeah I gotta say I don't like towers here. Anything built up has to be at the same scale as City Hall or you just replace one bad urban plan with another.
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Old 08-25-2013, 07:59 PM   #9
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Re: Government Center

My wishlist for this area: Get rid of Shitty Hall, restore the narrow streets, small blocks, nice mix of buildings and uses. You know: a traditional city, what you'd expect from a place that was founded in the 17th century.

Sadly it'll probably never happen, but one can always hope.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:01 PM   #10
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Re: Government Center

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My wishlist for this area: Get rid of Shitty Hall, restore the narrow streets, small blocks, nice mix of buildings and uses. You know: a traditional city, what you'd expect from a place that was founded in the 17th century.
The problem is that what would be built would just be a theme park. We love old buildings because the history seeps out of them. If you just built replicas they wouldn't have the same history. It's not like you can just go to a thrift store and buy second hand 18th century warehouse buildings and BANG have some authenticity.

In fact go back and look at Quincy Market in the first half of the 20th Century and tell me what is there now isn't a theme park.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:05 PM   #11
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Re: Government Center

Yeah you're right. Dammit, what's the solution?

Well, I do have to say: it would be a theme park only because Americans have basically destroyed almost all of our historic city areas. If only it were less unusual.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:09 PM   #12
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Re: Government Center

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In fact go back and look at Quincy Market in the first half of the 20th Century and tell me what is there now isn't a theme park.
It's also the pinnacle and very keystone of Boston's tourist and consumer market. Without Faneuil Hall's revitalization, Boston would not be the tourist mecca that we have today. I see absolutely nothing wrong with Faneuil Hall. I cherish it because the tax and sales revenue it brings into our great city is astronomical.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:16 PM   #13
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Re: Government Center

How about narrow streets, small blocks, traditional-style street life but it doesn't have to be "faux historic." And so what if it attracts tourists too. That's a good thing, better than having people running screaming in horror from the current monstrosity.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:23 PM   #14
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Re: Government Center

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It's also the pinnacle and very keystone of Boston's tourist and consumer market. Without Faneuil Hall's revitalization, Boston would not be the tourist mecca that we have today. I see absolutely nothing wrong with Faneuil Hall. I cherish it because the tax and sales revenue it brings into our great city is astronomical.
Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market work but they are a theme park. It has a replica of Cheers! But that isn't a bad thing since it SAVED historic buildings and used their history as the theme. But what if they were destroyed and then rebuilt? It wouldn't be the same. That's my point.

@Matthew: The question I have is what would be the point? (Other than reknitting the urban fabric.) I mean what would be the economic driver? South Boston Waterfront is going for the tech/biotech sector and all the other new buildings downtown are residential (the one's that are actually going up). It's a huge site and you'd have to have a damn good reason to build there if you don't want a small neighborhood of vacant buildings.

I can't think of anything good. I mean you could stick a hotel in there but that wouldn't fix anything. That was the problem in the first place with Scollay Sq, it had devolved into a low rent slum of pawn shops, sleazy theatres, and bars. Should we bring that back? Anything new would have to command rents to justify the location.

Tourism only goes so far. The Greenway was supposed to be lined with institutions and museums and how many have been built so far? Nothing and worse what was proposed has been scraped. I'd love to see the Greenway filled in with a few more hotels/residences myself. But would Government Center then work if you just built condos? It would bring more people to the area for sure but I'd like to see a developer who has the balls to be the first to try it. If DTX explodes with residential conversions and new builds in the next decade (that is to say if what is being built now ushers in a residential revolution in the area) then in a generation there might be demand for housing at GC... but that's a huge WHAT IF.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:28 PM   #15
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Re: Government Center

I agree on the issue of towers on CHP though. (I also agree about the ridiculousness of Cheers. That always irked me.)

Regarding fixing the plaza, I'm still sticking to my opinion of just covering the whole damn thing with grass and calling it a park. It could be an awesome area.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:32 PM   #16
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Re: Government Center

Reknitting the urban fabric is the point. We need more city. Why not build more city in the city? I dislike the idea of dedicating a part of the city to "one sector." That reeks of Euclidean zoning.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:34 PM   #17
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Re: Government Center

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Reknitting the urban fabric is the point. We need more city. Why not build more city in the city? I dislike the idea of dedicating a part of the city to "one sector." That reeks of Euclidean zoning.
We need this always. But you don't just build a city, you need a reason. It's not like we are growing like China over here.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:37 PM   #18
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Re: Government Center

Lay out a set of narrow streets with small blocks then auction off parcels. It'll fill in.

Admittedly I don't know what obstacles lurk beneath the surface. Might be more akin to air rights in some places, given what's underground.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:57 PM   #19
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Re: Government Center

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Lay out a set of narrow streets with small blocks then auction off parcels. It'll fill in.
3 words: Renaissance Boston Waterfront.

To get what you want you'd have to find a way to stop developers from buying up all the land and building land scrapers (South Boston Waterfront).

This reminds me of playing SimCity years ago. If you just zoned an area residential it would built whatever the "market" wanted and sometimes that would mean townhouses with a giant tower next door. But if you wanted a pretty rowhouse district you had to go in and zone each lot a different zoning level so that the game wouldn't automatically combine lots (like developers do in real life).

So if you want smaller infill you need to write a redevelopment plan for such a scale. And for that you need city leadership that wants that kind of development and won't just hand it all over to a developer friend.
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:01 PM   #20
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Re: Government Center

That's what the small blocks are for. Even if they do buy up the parcels, it won't be a "landscraper."
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