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Kairos Shen

Tue, Feb 7, 2017    1:15pm

New Planning and Development Challenges for Boston’s Downtown Waterfront after the Big Dig
Kairos Shen
Visiting Lecturer, Columbia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Big Dig is the most expensive public road per linear mile ever completed in the United States. This project has transformed Boston’s Downtown with a new 27 acre Greenway and also reestablished the city’s historic connection to the harbor that was interrupted by an elevated highway for almost fifty years.

This dramatic transformation of Boston’s Downtown and its real estate potential, however, was never fully anticipated or defined by the City’s plans and zoning. Most of the planning leading up to and during the Big Dig was focused on engineering the suppression of a highway underground and restoring the old city. The planning was not premised on the re-imagination of the Downtown as a neighborhood around a new park and the harbor.

This presentation will look at the post Big Dig planning and policies Boston has adopted to try to catch up with the unprecedented real estate forces pushing for greater height and density around the Greenway and harbor. One central issue is how the public sector can effectively manage private development while simultaneously soliciting their contributions and partnerships in maintaining the new Greenway. The presentation will assess how these dynamic and competing interests are shaping the vision and skyline of the Boston’s Downtown.

The Lectures in Planning Series (LiPS) is an initiative of the Urban Planning program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

All lectures are free and open to the public; refreshments are provided. For more information or to make program suggestions, email lipscolumbiaplanning@gmail.com.