Boston 2100

Cortes

Active Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
227
Reaction score
76
Theres a few places kicking around with lots of room that can fit huge amounts of housing like this, but it seems they always build far less. Thats why this is such a pleasant surprise.

The area I think of most is both sides of melnea cass by bmc, thats a huge amount of open space directly on the exploding corridors of albany, harrison, washington. Theres also a 26-ish story tower right there. They could fit like 12 26 story towers there... which they never would, but just goes to show it has huge potential. Also the future potential of hopefully a subway or street car line passing down this corridor serving ink block, flower exchange, bmc, whatevers built here.. etc down to dudley sq. Lots of potential in the city still to make huge dents in the housing requirements.
Not trying to derail thread, but looking towards Boston 2100 and with history as a guide, the Chelsea curves will be sublimated when the Tobin needs to be replaced (2060?). The opportunity exists for Chelsea to become a COMPLETELY different place, as it is closer to Gov Center than Fenway Park as the crow, and a subway, would fly. In the meantime, the massive area that this is in the middle of will continue to thicken, with this being an example of what should be MINIMUM density moving forward. Fenway density is to be desired, including the towers going up in Kenmore and along Boylston.
 

TomOfBoston

Active Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2007
Messages
880
Reaction score
60
Not trying to derail thread, but looking towards Boston 2100 and with history as a guide, the Chelsea curves will be sublimated when the Tobin needs to be replaced (2060?). The opportunity exists for Chelsea to become a COMPLETELY different place, as it is closer to Gov Center than Fenway Park as the crow, and a subway, would fly. In the meantime, the massive area that this is in the middle of will continue to thicken, with this being an example of what should be MINIMUM density moving forward. Fenway density is to be desired, including the towers going up in Kenmore and along Boylston.
What is the probability that the shipping ports that necessitate a high bridge would be relocated by then? A low replacement bridge would be amazing.
 

Cortes

Active Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
227
Reaction score
76
What is the probability that the shipping ports that necessitate a high bridge would be relocated by then? A low replacement bridge would be amazing.
That is beyond my prognostic abilities. A movement away from LNG to start and then potentially a barrier system to account for sea level rise would change the inner harbor beyond recognition. I would love for the moderator to lead this conversation to the correct sub, I'd love to continue.
 

George_Apley

Not a Brahmin
Staff member
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
4,632
Reaction score
1,025
Here ya go.

Boston 2100. What do you speculate the city will look like in 80 years? How will it be different? What challenges and opportunities will have arised? What infrastructure and urban dev would you hope for and how would we get there?

Imagine away.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
6,401
Reaction score
1,272
Here ya go.

Boston 2100. What do you speculate the city will look like in 80 years? How will it be different? What challenges and opportunities will have arised? What infrastructure and urban dev would you hope for and how would we get there?

Imagine away.


On the bright side: 470 years was a pretty good run for human urbanity. 🧜‍♂️
 

cubalibre

Active Member
Joined
May 30, 2006
Messages
149
Reaction score
90
Boston 2100. What do you speculate the city will look like in 80 years?
2100 sounded so far removed into the future, I’m baffled that it’s only a mere 80 more years. On the flip side, what is left from 1940 in terms of significant infrastructure? Tobin bridge is from around that time?
 

WormtownNative

Active Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2014
Messages
391
Reaction score
31
2100 sounded so far removed into the future, I’m baffled that it’s only a mere 80 more years. On the flip side, what is left from 1940 in terms of significant infrastructure? Tobin bridge is from around that time?
Most of the green line tunnels & stations, as well as most of the core of the other lines, South Station (the building itself), the Ashmont-Mattapan PCC's, Harvard bus tunnel, a large part of MWRA infrastructure on the supply side (all reservoirs that aren't covered storage, plus a few backup supply tunnels from them), among others.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
6,401
Reaction score
1,272
Most of our megaproject-bearing infrastructure doesn't have an expiration date before 2100. Even the Tobin, while not structurally immortal, is so far off the planning radar as to practically be unpredictable. It's way more likely that momentum for replacement is going to be driven by functional obsolescence well before structural obsolescence. If we keep a good rehab program going there's easily 50 years left. Tunnels are also very difficult to figure. I mean, it's not like the 1895-97 Central Subway bore has stood static for 125 years on maintenance. Stuff like new pump rooms has been continuously happening to shore it up against new challenges, such that it's got an easy 100 more years in it even with a lot of the concrete pour still being 1890's-original. It's original-materials, but the way they're managed has continuously evolved (usually out of the rider's view) so you can't accurately call the structures themselves all-original with an expiration date linear-traced from the original build.

Other things simply are so overbuilt they don't decay at human-lifetime rates. I was lucky enough to go on a school trip to Rome in the mid-90's and witness rush hour traffic pounding the everloving crap out of Tiber River road bridges in excess of 2000 years old...daily all-day traffic jams, heavy delivery truck traffic, and crazy drivers the likes of which make us Massholes look like pikers. Some of them having generally shit pavement quality, too, that makes the River St. & Western Ave. decaying stone arches over the Charles ride practically 'good' by comparison. But they're structurally up-to-snuff, so City of Rome DPW keeps maintaining them as everyday structures, and they simply never quit. If the next 40 years are better off than the last 40 at us avoiding deferred maintenance, most of our infrastructure should last enormously longer. We're still very much in the rollback of the sins of the deferred-maint 1960's-1990's in what does need to be replaced.


FWIW...remember that "...After Humans" (or whatever it was called) Discovery Channel series about what would happen to our man-made structures after the end of human civilization? They famously did one about NYC and what would be the last buildings and bridges still standing in structurally usable/livable condition if we woke up tomorrow with all of humanity extinct, going through the sequence of what structures would begin partially collapsing first to last in the absence of human presence. "Winner" was the Hell Gate Bridge on Amtrak, which had at least 250 years of structural durability left in it post-humans (shy of some active Roman bridge & water viaduct infrastructure...but that 2000 yr. old stuff was never hard cut-off from maintenance like this show was assuming up-front). Since they didn't do a Boston series, some engineering academic took it upon himself to ballpark-estimate longest-lived human structures after the depopulation of Greater Boston.

Winner: Canton Viaduct on the NEC. Already one of the oldest structures period (built 1834) in the whole region. Was estimated that with extinction of humanity it had >200 more years of functional load-bearing life left in it. With proper maintenance (last major top-bottom rehab: 1998-2000, by Amtrak)...more like 500+ years (or 700+ for its service lifetime). Fittingly, its original builders mimicked the Wall of Rhodes (400 BCE and still mostly standing) as inspiration for Canton's stone-block construction technique. So there's our Ancient Roman viaduct for future millennias' archaeologists to marvel at...right underneath your feet on the Acela or the standing-room 5:00pm local to Providence.
 
Last edited:

Charlie_mta

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2006
Messages
1,666
Reaction score
295
Based on a linear projection from recent decades out to 2100, I see the affluent suburban towns becoming even more ensconced as walled-off fiefdoms, isolated out of fear of the "wrong" people and as a reaction to general societal chaos (pandemics, crime, income disparity, economic uncertainty, etc,). There will be a sharp reduction in commuting traffic, as working from home (for most jobs) and automated vehicles become the norm. There may be a relocation of people from the inner metro areas out to smaller towns in outer exurbia, enabled by working remotely.

All of this scenario could change if a major world war happens or some similar mega-catastrophe, in which the nation would have to pull together and become more egalitarian and unified as in WW II. Barring that, I see the US becoming more fragmented and tribal as has been happening for the last 50 years, and metro Boston moving that way as well.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
6,401
Reaction score
1,272
After the biblical floods destroy the entire CBD, we just decide to pack up and squat in the Worcester Hills and abandon Boston to the rising Angry Atlantic. It was an adjustment, but worked surprisingly well once we got the Red Line working underneath Kelley Sq. rotary. That is, until the unfortunate "Troubles of '56" when the mob of Old Worcesterites descended from the shores of Quinsigamond to try to evict the hipster carpetbaggers. Many a Masshole perished in hand-to-hand combat during those riots, I tell you...causing millions of dollars in improvements to Downtown.

Hey, it's been done!. . .
 

TomOfBoston

Active Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2007
Messages
880
Reaction score
60
I was born in 1951 in Chelsea. When I think back to my childhood and adolescence it seems like a fairy tale. It wasn't a different time it was a different world. Back then Boston was a dump. It was a decaying city that lost out to other cities for economic growth. Very little was being built. The biggest projects were disasters for the city: Charles River Park and the Central Artery.

In high school a counselor suggested to the class that most of us should consider moving to other parts of the country after high school or college. He suggested that the Midwest would be a good place to live. There was a lot of economic opportunity there!

Soooo the moral of this story is that the best predictions for Boston 2100 are at best semi-informed opinions.

Oh! Anyone remember the Boston World's Fair in 1976 to celebrate the Bicentennial? Funny how plans fail to materialize.

BTW I loved that old dump of a city.
 

Charlie_mta

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2006
Messages
1,666
Reaction score
295
Anyone remember the Boston World's Fair in 1976 to celebrate the Bicentennial? Funny how plans fail to materialize.
BTW I loved that old dump of a city.
I do remember the plans for the 1976 Worlds Fair. It was to be located at Pleasure Bay in South Boston.

As far as Boston being a dump in the 1950's, I totally disagree. I was born in 1949 and lived in East Cambridge until I was 5. I loved it and still even dream about it. It was the perfect urban neighborhood at the time: virtually no crime, great neighborhood stores of every kind, well-maintained housing; just a a beautiful, dense neighborhood. It was a very different world back then. The downtown Boston shopping area (Washington and Summer Streets) was a magical, exciting and wonderful place. The Boston and Cambridge neighborhoods were safe and vibrant, factories were humming, family wage jobs were plentiful, housing was affordable, traffic was manageable, and the future was full of hope for working class people, including Blacks. It's funny how this Boston 2100 thread has turned into Boston 1950, but in some ways that makes sense, as the keys to the future lay in understanding the lessons of the past.
 

Scott

Active Member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
685
Reaction score
49
I have two possible scenarios for 2100:

In the year 2100 Boston will be a domed city run by a computer that provides every physical need. The citizens will be unaware of the outside world and lead lives of decadence until the age of 30. At that point they would be sent to Carousel to renew thus perpetuating the cycle of life.
Or...
In 2100 Boston will be as familiar to you as it would be now to a time traveler from 1920. Strangely, the people in 2100 will be very nostalgic for the 2060s when they say everything was perfect before all the water refugees from the west coast showed up and ruined it.
 

TomOfBoston

Active Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2007
Messages
880
Reaction score
60
I do remember the plans for the 1976 Worlds Fair. It was to be located at Pleasure Bay in South Boston.

As far as Boston being a dump in the 1950's, I totally disagree. I was born in 1949 and lived in East Cambridge until I was 5. I loved it and still even dream about it. It was the perfect urban neighborhood at the time: virtually no crime, great neighborhood stores of every kind, well-maintained housing; just a a beautiful, dense neighborhood. It was a very different world back then. The downtown Boston shopping area (Washington and Summer Streets) was a magical, exciting and wonderful place. The Boston and Cambridge neighborhoods were safe and vibrant, factories were humming, family wage jobs were plentiful, housing was affordable, traffic was manageable, and the future was full of hope for working class people, including Blacks. It's funny how this Boston 2100 thread has turned into Boston 1950, but in some ways that makes sense, as the keys to the future lay in understanding the lessons of the past.
As I posted I loved growing up in Boston in the 1950's. Chelsea was a low income but safe city. But PHYSICALLY the region was a dump. Street cleaning was a foreign concept. Beautiful old buildings vacant or neglected etc. A decrepit subway system...well some thing never change.
 

Charlie_mta

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2006
Messages
1,666
Reaction score
295
As I posted I loved growing up in Boston in the 1950's. Chelsea was a low income but safe city. But PHYSICALLY the region was a dump. Street cleaning was a foreign concept. Beautiful old buildings vacant or neglected etc. A decrepit subway system...well some thing never change.
The subway system was not that bad, in some ways better than today; no graffiti or homeless people back then. I do remember litter being very bad. It used to accumulate along the underside of chain link fences everywhere and was strewn alongside highways, etc. But I consider the litter of the 1950's to be the temporary byproduct of a newly affluent and disposable consumer culture. It took a few years for people to adjust to that, and by the 1970's it was pretty much all gone.

I'll tell you what for me was very different about the late 1950's/early 60's. I used to walk by myself, as a 10-year old kid, from Central Square, up Main Street to a basement in the Newtowne Court housing project to attend after-school art classes. Try that today and see what happens.
 

Riverside

Active Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Messages
404
Reaction score
75
I think @Vagabond and @F-Line to Dudley have identified the key here -- any vision of Boston 2100 has to reckon with sea level rise. I'll have to give it more thought, but I'd say we'll either see some sort of sea-wall along the harbor (and that will majorly change, well, everything), or we'll see a major retreat out of the city due to rising tides.
 

DBM

Active Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
775
Reaction score
85
when they say everything was perfect before all the water refugees from the west coast showed up and ruined it.

This. Read "Cadillac Desert" or "Beyond The 100th Meridian" and marvel at the 150 years of arrogance, folly, deceit, delusion, and greed that gave us the modern American West, where water quite literally flows uphill to money. Los Angeles, San Diego, SF, LV, Denver, Albuquerque, Phoenix, SLC--tens of millions dependent on an absurdly precarious system. Unless a Manhattan Project-style desalinization program gets going soon, I fear the worst.

Alarmist? Well, check out what's being done to retrofit Lake Mead. It is the Red Queen's Race brought to life. And I say this as someone who lived out there for many years when I was much younger and enjoyed and embraced it immensely.
 

stefal

Active Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2015
Messages
937
Reaction score
513
I think @Vagabond and @F-Line to Dudley have identified the key here -- any vision of Boston 2100 has to reckon with sea level rise. I'll have to give it more thought, but I'd say we'll either see some sort of sea-wall along the harbor (and that will majorly change, well, everything), or we'll see a major retreat out of the city due to rising tides.
It should be a no-brainer that a sea-wall of some sort will have to be constructed. I can't imagine the economic cost of a major retreat out of a city even modestly sized like Boston - that's talking about hundreds of billions of dollars of real-estate being abandoned/lost. I don't have an estimate on the value that would be totally lost to the sea and the value that would remain in 2100, but the total value of Boston real estate is hovering around $850 billion. A sea-wall at least maintains that value, while a retreat would leave owners virtually abandoning their property as 0 people would want to buy from them, and even if only those that are at risk of losing their property to higher sea levels left, those who are not at risk and stay would see major decreases in the value of their property.

---

If we are to solve the sea-level rise and climate change crises, sea-walls and carbon neutral transportation and housing aren't going to be "a nice thing in the right direction," they'll more likely be a necessity. Electrified transport, greener energy grids, and how we construct our buildings and design our building systems are going to be the focus of the next 30 years of academic research. It has at least started to take that direction, but not nearly enough it seems to have viable options in time - but the rate of innovation is nearly exponential, so I have some hope. If the past 80 years are any indication of the next 80, its nearly/physically impossible to imagine today what a Boston in 2100 will look like, considering just 13 years ago if you were shown a smartphone you'd have no idea what you were looking at.
 

Top