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Old 10-11-2016, 04:47 PM   #1
Hubman
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High Rise Public Housing In Boston

Most large cities (NYC, Detroit, Chicago) build public housing high rises. Where are they in Boston? Columbia point was, but it was razed in 1988.
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Old 10-11-2016, 05:05 PM   #2
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Re: High Rise Public Housing In Boston

We have buildings that look like high rise public housing, cough cough Harbor Garage cough cough Longfellow Place. However those buildings aren't affordable. In Boston we have high rise public housing for the wealthy.
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Old 10-11-2016, 06:37 PM   #3
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Re: High Rise Public Housing In Boston

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Most large cities (NYC, Detroit, Chicago) build public housing high rises. Where are they in Boston? Columbia point was, but it was razed in 1988.
Just bounding off this: why not have ground floor retail, too, even on a midrise. Require the retail businesses to be a DBE: owned by a minority or woman.
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Old 10-11-2016, 07:42 PM   #4
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Re: High Rise Public Housing In Boston

I found Rindge Towers, which is a public-housing high rise in Cambridge, still operating, but that's not really in Boston.
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Old 10-11-2016, 08:31 PM   #5
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Re: High Rise Public Housing In Boston

A number of towers & complexes around Boston, Cambridge & Somerville were originally built as workforce housing in the 60s & 70s, but were converted to upscale/luxury housing decades later. Boston never really went ham building high-rise "project" towers like NYC did. Racially, it's for the best because if we had built them, we'd be even more segregated than we are now. Those low-income tower complexes in their building design & placement (like with highways tearing through - see I-695/Southwest Expressway Connector) were purposefully designed to segregate neighborhoods by their demographics. Those NYC towers ended up becoming hellholes & still are to this day. In contemporary urban design, we've found that mixed-income developments are the key, from a quality of life & social justice standpoint, with a mix of market-rate and low-income or workforce housing.

Columbia Point is the perfect example. It was a complete crime-ridden hellscape, as it put at-risk populations in this bubble in a desolate area with poor access to transit, community amenities & food sources. Its redevelopment into a true mixed-income community has transformed the area entirely, albeit, a bit too suburban. There are also examples of this in East Boston (Maverick Landing) & it is being done in Charlestown right now with One Charlestown.
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:48 PM   #6
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Re: High Rise Public Housing In Boston

Mission Park - but I don't think it really qualifies as a 'project', just affordable. Tai Tung and the Mass Pike Tower, too, maybe? No idea what they are now, again might only be affordable (I think both are w/ section 8). Otherwise its really just 3-8ish story stuff like Bromley Heath, Archdale, Castle Square (I think also not projects now?), Old Colony (being redeveloped)/McCormack, Whittier, Beech St (also redeveloped a few years ago) etc. There are some other public housing 'towers'/'high rises' I think, but they are reserved for elderly/disabled. But, I agree with datadyne - its kind of great we didn't really move into that sort of thing, and, I really hope we can do a lot more mixed income redevelopment of most of the remaining projects.
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Old 10-12-2016, 12:17 AM   #7
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Re: High Rise Public Housing In Boston

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Most large cities (NYC, Detroit, Chicago) build public housing high rises. Where are they in Boston?
Charles River Park.
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Old 10-12-2016, 09:31 AM   #8
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Re: High Rise Public Housing In Boston

Walnut Park - the 20-story round BHA tower in Egleston Square for the elderly.
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Old 10-12-2016, 11:56 AM   #9
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Re: High Rise Public Housing In Boston

Fresh pond apartments is a very noticeable example.

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Old 10-12-2016, 12:20 PM   #10
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Re: High Rise Public Housing In Boston

Do the Fresh Pond towers have a good reputation? My impression of Cambridge's public housing is that the town has always been wealthy enough to keep their projects maintained and safe, thus avoiding the issues that grew in many of the other projects around the country.
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Old 10-12-2016, 12:25 PM   #11
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tall w/ affordable

How about a slender 735' residence tower at 65 Martha Rd w/ emphasis on max-affordable, VE to the limit - like Trinity went for at 111 Fed. Imagine the views, You're not shading out anyone, and we'd get a beautiful crown for the 4 low highrises. Then we can call it done down here. Parking under the tower and maybe do a deal with ____ for a big garage under ~45 Martha. This would be a $1B cashbox for the city... Tell the neighbors, "Thanks in advance for doing your part for Boston."

The only issue, really, truly is parking.and traffic. Do about 360 units and limit one car/unit....

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3698.../data=!3m1!1e3

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Old 10-12-2016, 12:43 PM   #12
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Re: High Rise Public Housing In Boston

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Do the Fresh Pond towers have a good reputation? My impression of Cambridge's public housing is that the town has always been wealthy enough to keep their projects maintained and safe, thus avoiding the issues that grew in many of the other projects around the country.
How wealthy the town is has little to do with it. This is a privately owned property funded with project based Section 8. That is, the Sec 8 money flows to the owner, not to the tenants as in the Sec 8 voucher program. The funding is all federal, every penny of it, in Cambridge and everywhere else; the local tax base is irrelevant.

What is locally relevant is that the federal money almost always flows through a local housing authority before reaching the owner. (Thereís a handful of deals that get it directly from HUD but Iím 99% certain the PBSec8 on these towers comes through the Cambridge Housing Authority. Also, thereís publicly owned housing, but these towers arenít in that bucket.) The local issue is whether a town has the political will or interest to staff up a housing authority with competent and dedicated people who then ride herd effectively on owners with PB Sec8. Voters in Cambridge actually do expect government to function at governing, and so the CHA has a reputation as being pretty decent, as housing authorities go. When you read about housing authorities run amok (looking at you, Chelsea), itís not a lack of federal dollars, itís either a lack of local attention or some sort of patronage nightmare, both of which can end up allowing those federal dollars to get either misspent and/or stolen. This nearly inevitably results in the properties becoming hellholes.

During the 80s, funding from the federal government fell to a point that even the best cities were struggling. Thatís not as bad a problem now. From everything Iíve heard, this property became pretty bad in the 80s, but thatís hearsay, long before my time in the area.

The Ridge Towers, as I think theyíre called, went through a big workout in the 00s, brought in tax credit equity to pay for a large-ish rehab (obviously not to the aesthetics), plus got their rent subsidy increased by HUD so that the maintenance budget could keep it up to snuff after the rehab. Word in the biz is that itís in a pretty good operational place for the last so many years and looking stable for the foreseeable future. Iíve heard nasty stories about the 80s though.
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Old 10-12-2016, 02:34 PM   #13
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Re: High Rise Public Housing In Boston

Boston generally didn't have the land, and where there might have been land, schools were too few. In any event, nobody (outside of NYC) that I am aware of has built high-rise public housing in recent decades.

Chicago:
http://apps.npr.org/lookatthis/posts/publichousing/

Detroit:
http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/in...d_with_de.html

St. Louis


https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2...history-cities

Philadelphia (this year)
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Old 10-12-2016, 03:24 PM   #14
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Re: High Rise Public Housing In Boston

It's funny that Boston didn't build any, because they were all gun-ho on other urban renewal plans, like The Central Artery and Gov't Center.
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Old 10-12-2016, 03:29 PM   #15
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Re: High Rise Public Housing In Boston

Just found this, Cathedral Projects in Southie. They look a lot like the Taylor homes in Chicago.
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Old 10-13-2016, 07:49 AM   #16
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Re: High Rise Public Housing In Boston

were these housing projects destroyed because

1. they were essentially destroyed by their grateful tenants?

or

2. these blocks were turned into warzones?

or

3. they were racist?

or

4. they were political third rails?

or

5. hazardous materious re lead paint/asbestos?

or

6. all of the above.
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Old 10-13-2016, 08:41 AM   #17
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Re: High Rise Public Housing In Boston

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Phenomenal feature.
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Old 10-13-2016, 09:35 PM   #18
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Re: High Rise Public Housing In Boston

Quote:
Originally Posted by odurandina View Post
were these housing projects destroyed because

1. they were essentially destroyed by their grateful tenants?

or

2. these blocks were turned into warzones?

or

3. they were racist?

or

4. they were political third rails?

or

5. hazardous materious re lead paint/asbestos?

or

6. all of the above.
the realization that intentionally concentrating poverty is stupid, while income integration leads to better outcomes.
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Old 10-13-2016, 11:48 PM   #19
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Re: High Rise Public Housing In Boston

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Do the Fresh Pond towers have a good reputation? My impression of Cambridge's public housing is that the town has always been wealthy enough to keep their projects maintained and safe, thus avoiding the issues that grew in many of the other projects around the country.
Those blocks are a little dodgy for their surroundings, and you used to find some interesting characters in the Alewife-Danehy-Fresh Pond triangle. But nothing like the hopeless stretches of St Louis, Chicago, etc
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Old 10-14-2016, 08:09 AM   #20
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Re: High Rise Public Housing In Boston

Cathedral projects are in South end, not Southie

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