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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Plans for City Hall Plaza on YouTube

Following up on my earlier post about Walt Lockley's view of Boston City Hall, I found a trio of videos that offer ideas of ways to change City Hall Plaza.

In 2007, a group of students, both graduate and undergraduate, were sponsored to create a pilot project called Hub2. They used the game Second Life to re-imagine City Hall Plaza. Their alterations are pretty light weight, primarily aiming to liven up the plaza itself without altering City Hall itself.

Another video, this one, "One citizen's hope for the barren wasteland of Boston City Hall Plaza." He offers a solution that begins with minor alterations to City Hall, but by the end, the building is gone.

Lastly, video of Boston Mayor Tom Menino's plan to build a new city hall on the South Boston waterfront and sell City Hall Plaza to developers. Menino doesn't hold back on his feelings about City Hall.

Which of these plans is the most realistic? Or do you have your own idea?


Linda Merrill said...

Well, having lived on Beacon Hill and then the North End for several years, I've spent a lot of time criss crossing City Hall Plaza. And yes, it's ugly and a barren wasteland. But, when I see plans to cut it up with walk ways and green space, I wonder how that would ever be kept up and think the green spaces - grass or planters - would be a mess in no time. Also, some of my best memories of Boston came from being in a big crowd at City Hall Plaza - from the time there was dancing for the fourth of July (the Navy was in port, so that was A LOT of fun!), to sports team celebrations to the Bare Naked Ladies concert. Those big celebrations wouldn't be the same if the space is divided up into walkways and barriers. It's the one big viewer unobstructed space we have. That said, mostly it's a vast wasteland. Sorry, didn't add much to the debate!

Anonymous said...

in answer to linda - the green space would be kept up by the Park Service - the same folks who mow the lawns and trim the trees at parks all over Boston - including the Common, the Fenway, and the Arboreatum.

City hall should (unequivocally) be preserved in its current location. Efforts should be made to fix the interior, and the plaza as those are places with measurable problems. If Menino had put as much effort into upkeep with City Hall as he has bitching the building would have the lights it needs, and handicapped access etc.

The problems with City Hall are many, but running away is not the solution. The groundbreaking architecture and the central location are cornerstones to a building that could (with brave action) once again put Boston on the map.