Greenway in need of density


Frederick A. Kramer and Lynn Wolff bring us this article on Boston‘s Rose Kennedy Greenway project.  Attendees at recent meetings have noted a need for food markets, cafes and public shelters.  The writers argue that Boston’s Redevelopment Athority must make a bold move regarding density to make sure that this project is successful.  Americans have a phobia of density, understandably based on the misuse of density by past government projects which has contributed to crime and urban decline.  We need to get over that.  Density isn’t inherently bad.  Although there are issues with a lack of light and “canyonization,” we can mitigate these negative effects by better design.  The writers advocate tall buildings, which, compared to what most Americans want, I would agree with, but as I’ve mentioned before, I agree with Christopher Alexander that buildings should rarely be above four stories.  But we have seen, by the creative work of those such as Moule & Polyzoides, that you can have inovative density within this limit.  The writers go on to say that a mix of transit options and uses, the fundamental elements of TOD, need to be included in the project.  I think that this is a great project, and I’m glad to see smart people working to make sure that it works out.

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