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ChrisValentine

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Everything posted by ChrisValentine

  1. Fantastic letter, its the only place I've seen that lists some numeric detail on what facilities, beyond the actual athletic venues, are required.
  2. Come on! I offered a good faith compromise so that both city's civic patriotism can be honored.
  3. Like I said, Philly took care of the paperwork, though I am certainly not rewriting history. Tell you what, in the interest of compromise, I'll offer this: If America was born in Philadelphia, it was conceived in Boston.
  4. You're right. We shouldn't be trying to steal Concord and Lexington's thunder. They deserve more respect, since America was really born there. Concord/Lexington 2024?
  5. We're the birthplace of the American Revolution. Philly just took care of the paperwork. Great visual: Paul Revere riding with the Olympic Torch.
  6. Swimming competitions would most likely be held at one of the larger universities. At the moment, my quick googling of the topic shows that the major schools (BU, BC, NU, MIT, Harvard, Tufts) don't have natatoria that are large enough. BU comes close, as does Harvard. Every facility other than BU's is several decades old, as well. This present an opportunity to coordinate with the schools when they seek to upgrade their facilities, as they're inclined to (I know that NU is planning on replacing their athletic facility). Or, one could simply be built on its own (as Proposition Joe suggests in his map on the previous page). I'm inclined to keep it associated with one of the schools, since they're likely the ones to have the most use for a competitive pool after the games. As for BMX, Boston doesn't have anything even remotely resembling a Velodrome at the moment. Thats certainly a concern, as it is something that I can't really see much of a use for after the Games are concluded, so I don't know where you would put it without leaving a dead spot in the city (I'm very keen on keeping things useful). Unless its built as a facility that can easily be converted to some other use. As for the Golf, I have no idea what the criteria for an Olympic Golf Course would be. I do know that there are *many* golf courses in the area, including many very nice ones, but I'm sure thats true of almost any major city. I am, admittedly, quite ignorant about this particular topic. Anyway, there's plenty of sites available in general. Just for kicks, I went and gave into my inner Robert Moses and drew a box over as much of Boston as I thought was worth razing/building over for a contiguous Olympic park. Almost no residential areas are included (a few isolated buildings, here and there), its almost entirely industrial and some commercial. https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=218347900697378492655.0004d5cfe38b6129eefaa&msa=0&ll=42.328347,-71.06884&spn=0.124878,0.258179 Thats pretty much 700 acres right there, more than enough for the park. Not that I think that would be an ideal thing to do, build the Olympic park just whole hog right in one big spot (as evidenced by the way I have parts snaking out into the city, I would prefer a serpentine layout, to make it more integrated into the cityscape). Its just a demonstration that, despite its dense and often congested nature, there's areas in Boston that are underdeveloped and large enough for the Olympics.
  7. Well, what specifically do you think there is not enough room for, in Boston? I'd think that the most difficult thing to place would be the stadium itself. That certainly would be a difficult proposition to find a suitable location within the city, but there is lots of land available for (re)development.
  8. That is indeed the building; hard to believe its almost 10 years old this year (not that I was living there that long ago). I do have to disagree with your statement re: the need for student housing. NU in particularly has made a commitment to expanding their stock of student housing. NU is currently somewhere around just above 50% capacity to live on campus and want to have the option to provide housing to every student that wants to live on campus, eliminating the lottery system (other than for priority of choice). BU claims they've reached that point with a figure of ~75% of students on campus. Crunching some numbers, NU has ~15,000 undergrads at the moment, ~8,000 of whom live on campus (per my contacts in the housing department). To reach 75% occupancy, they need 11,250 beds, about 3,250 more than they currently have. Of course, the issue is that, by 2024, I wouldn't be surprised if they already reached that point. It took them less than a decade to build their current new housing stock (all of West Village, Davenport Commons, International Village...). Speaking of numbers, I want to address baron's specific point about Boston being able to absorb an influx of 3,000 units in the aftermath of the olympics. In 2009, Northeastern and Boston University both opened their two latest halls, International Village (1,200 beds) and 33 Harry Agganis Way (960 beds, and a desperate plea for a better name), respectively. Thats 2,160 beds available at the same time (taking in many off-campus students, freeing up the apartments they would have otherwise rented), and the city kept chugging along just fine.
  9. I want to point out that the major universities have managed to vastly expand their stock of student housing in the past decade, and it is almost always of very high quality (nice rooms are a key selling point). When I was a student, I live on-campus, in a full apartment (kitchen, living room, bathroom with separate vanity, and 4 single bedrooms) for my last 2 years. Oh, and we were on the 13th floor, the northeast wall was entirely glass, and we could look into Fenway Park. The schools definitely do not lack for high quality housing for their students (if anything, they're a bit *too* overeager to build 'sexy' halls). But anyway, back on topic. The housing situation brings up another opportunity (again, I'm a silver lining kind of guy). The universities are constantly looking to build new residence halls for their students, the city wants them to (because they don't like students living off campus in large numbers; too unruly), but local neighborhoods always try to put on the breaks whenever a new building is proposed, for NIMBY reasons. It also happens that some of the possible locations for the Olympic Village housing is very proximate to some of the Universities: - Decking over I-90 through Fenway/Kenmore, by Boston University. - Decking over I-90 through Back Bay, by Berklee and Suffolk Universities. - Decking over the Orange line south of Massachusetts Ave, by Northeastern University (NU wants to do this anyway, and has wanted to - with varying levels of commitment - for the past decade or so). - UMass Boston is traditionally a commuter school, but has been exploring moving away from that model for some time now. Lots of space around them, as well. The village could be built as a partnership with one or more of these universities, with the university getting the rights to the structure afterwards to use as housing for their own students. The other universities in Boston have less 'blanket' opportunities for expansion, except maybe Harvard on their Allston campus (which has poorer public transit access than the options I suggest, which are all very close to one or more main subway lines). However, if piecemeal additions are acceptable, every major institution in the metro area is always looking for new expansion opportunities, so through Harvard, MIT, Tufts, and some of the smaller ones into the mix. Heck, some of the universities in the inner suburbs happen to be close to rail lines. Oh, and if we're going to talk about undoing the urban renewal mistakes of the city's past, we could free up a good chunk of land in the core of the city by tearing down the West End, the textbook example urban renewal gone wrong.
  10. First post here, as a Boston local, and casual fan of the idea of the city hosting the summer games, ever since that logo was designed back in, what 2008? There's certainly lots of obstacles to Boston hosting the games, but thats true of any city. I hope my thoughts are useful to the conversation, but I admit that I might be repeating some stuff that has already been said (its a long thread, after all). One of the bigger ones is certainly a general culture of corruption amongst much of the municipal gov't and developers (the mayor seems to treat developments in the city like his own personal game of SimCity at times), but there's also plenty of opportunities. On the one hand, there is a general mindset amongst most of the movers and shakers in the city strongly in support of redeveloping much of the city. On the other hand, we've got a *long* track record of projects getting delayed, cancelled, dropped halfway through (among many notorious examples, the redevelopment of an almost historic Filene's building right in downtown got sidetracked... *after* it was demolished, leaving a literal gaping hole in the middle of one of the city's major shopping centers). As an eternal optimist, I can't help but view the tendency of projects to get lost in City Hall as a possible advantage: The population is already exposed to the idea of building X or neighborhood Y getting rebuilt, and the existing plans are almost as likely to not happen as they are to happen, leaving plenty of opportunities. My general philosophy is to not displace any residential locations, no matter what (even though there's many that the city would be better off if the buildings themselves were razed), but lower density, economically obsolete industrial/commercial locations should be considered for replacement. I want to acknowledge that this is just a list of possibile locations that I know the local government (or population) wants to redevelop (and areas that are similar to those), in general. They wouldn't necessarily have support if activists just said "Lets tear down this obsolete building and build the Olympic Village here," without that context, but I'm looking at these sites more through the lens of "We want to redevelop these places anyway, and the other projects keep getting sidetracked, lets build the Olympic Village there instead." It might also help to inspire the developers and city to get more disciplined with their other projects, as some of their favorite perennial targets get snatched up by the Olympics. The city and state have been trying to get the land over the highways in the city developed for the longest time, and they could likely be a good fit for some of the more narrow structures needed for the games (such as the Village), and there's certain places where they could support something wider. In particular: * I-90 between the South Bay Interchange and Copley Plaza/Back Bay station. The buildings to the south of the highway, on the eastern half of that stretch, are generally industrial facilities that people won't miss. In particular, the old Boston Herald building is slated for redevelopment at the moment (corner of Harrison Ave and Herald St.). * I-90 between Hynes Convention Center and Mountfort St. (Boston University). Everything along the highway there is too built up/historic to build over (other than the parking lot between Beacon St. and Brookline Ave, next to Fenway Park), but the area is a perennial target for building over. * I-90 from the CSX Railyard (slated for redevelopment itself, as noted in the map), through Brighton (part of Boston, for non-natives). Possibly Newton (not part of Boston), as well. These aren't targets for redevelopment much at the moment, but I wanted to list them as they are less dense and places where the highway is generally lower than the surrounding neighborhoods. Newton already has two major building that are over the highway already (one of which is a very dated supermarket that could definitely stand to be replaced). There is a woefully underdeveloped neighborhood in Brighton next to I-90, right next to the New Balance HQ that is being redeveloped at the moment (as in, construction is actually underway). I do believe the development won't be completely replacing the under-utilized land south of the highway. The area's mostly auto body shops, car dealerships, and the like. * Rose Kennedy Greenway (parkland over I-93 in Downtown Boston). This would be a political nightmare, but the city built a park over the main interstate through the city, 10 blocks long, and the park itself is underutilized. Taking over a few of those blocks (particularly the ones half taken up by onramps to the highway anyway) could be an option. * Various parts of I-93 south of the South Bay Interchange. This is much more intermittent, but it is generally underdeveloped commercial/industrial land where the highway is often lower than the surrounding city. Other areas for development in general: * Seaport District. I think this has been covered earlier in the thread, but its mostly parking lots at the moment. It is slated for development at the moment, piecemeal. * The industrial facilities northwest, southwest, and southeast of the South Bay Shopping Plaza (itself listed as an option in the map). Its almost entirely just warehouses, transit facilities, and the like. Speaking of the Shopping Plaza, its an open secret that Target (one of the main anchors of the Plaza) is going to be a tenant in one of the developments under construction near Fenway Park. * On the same concept as the highway overfill ideas, there's lots of areas where the MBTA (the transit system) has below-grade tracks, particularly through much of the southern portions of the Red and Orange lines. Both go through economically depressed areas (Dorchester, Roxbury, parts of Quincy) and are often surrounded by obsolete shopping centers. Similar conditions apply to several of the commuter rail lines. Also, the Red Line ends in Braintree, where, while the town itself is doing well, my experience is that the commercial sector surrounding the terminal station seems to be doing poorly. So, thats my somewhat stream-of-consciousness list of additional locations for development. As far as existing venues, I'd like to mention Matthews Arena for some of the smaller competitions. Its small, but the oldest indoor hockey arena and indoor multi-use arena still in use, in the world. But I'm an Alum of Northeastern, so I'm biased.
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