- Jul 15, 2006
- Reaction score
I also forgot to mention the former Combat Zone that was spared 1960's urban renewal obliteration, even though it was run down and depraved at the time. Fortunately it was left in place and eventually revitalized itself very well.Exactly my point Charlie. I agree totally with you (I left the Washington Street shopping off my comments for the reason you cite). The areas spared of the most vicious urban renewal (after swaths of the South End had been already razed) were kept intact by default, not by imagination. We could have lost much more. And the vibrant shopping area soon went south when suburban malls became the rage. If only they could have predicted the future then. Everything that got bulldozed could have been fantastic as refurbished housing, office space, and retail.
The huge BRA urban renewal projects were encouraged by the funding policies of the Federal Government in the late 50's/early 60's, which favored big land-clearing mega-projects rather than redevelopment of small parcels scattered about an existing neighborhood. I remember reading about that at the time in the Boston Globe. I've been following this stuff since I was 15 or 16 years old. The one thing that really ended the BRA urban renewal juggernaut of the 1960's was the diminishment of federal funding due to the cost of the escalating Vietnam War in 1967 and several years after. The "Butter" part of LBJ's "Guns and Butter" policy couldn't be sustained with the cost of the War. The Downtown/South Station urban renewal project never happened (thankfully) because of that loss of Federal funding at the time.