I went with the Renaissance, but thinking back, I would change my vote. It would take more than a brilliant-looking superblock to cheer up the Seaport, whereas the Greenway is a permanent stain on the city center that will foreclose opportunities for decades to come.
I think the Ren by default because at least the Greenway will evolve and at least the bus shelter (despite being a symbol of more or less everything that's wrong with the MBTA) is needed and in my opinion well designed. The Ren is boring to look at and poorly designed.
What, exactly, is it that people are hoping the Greenway will evolve into?
A greener place (taller trees over time, as on Comm. Ave.)
A place with some public amusements, perhaps a ferris wheel or carousel.
A place with scattered market stalls, especially around Dewey Square (South Station) and Quincy Market.
A less extravagant, smaller-scale revival of the Garden Under Glass plan.
A place for outdoor performances between April and October.
It's empty space, waiting to be filled with everyone's ideas.
Which is why people don't mind the idea of redeveloping it, whereas the NIMBYs will now fight tooth and nail to "save the Greenway" from change.
In 30 years you will be reading, guaranteed: "We put in so much money and effort to create these beautiful parks, and now they want to rip them up and put up more shadowy skyscrapers that will bring even more traffic and density to this neighborhood".
The Renaissance is a mere symptom of the vision-vacuum that is the Seaport. It's horrible, but inconsequential in light of the larger, fundamental problems concerning the area.
The Greenway, however, is an urban quagmire. It's success is pretty much impossible -- the space is simply not suited for the nebulous, world-class greenspace everyone is pining for (somethinng no one bothered with examining while this debacle was being hatched in the 1980s). We now see the the city itself kneeling down just to make this thing succeed -- a case of the tail wagging the dog, to the nth level.
Parks aren't supposed to behave like this.They conform to city around them, not vice versa.
I think that is actually the problem, that the park conforms too much. If there was more focus put on making this into a world class 'greenway' it may actually have a chance of achieving that goal. Instead we are stuck with a median conforming to unnecessary city traffic patterns.
Do we really need most of the cross streets to be three or four lanes? Do we need Atlantic and the ridiculously named "Surface Road" to each have three lanes? Do we even really need both of these considering there is a major highway running beneath them? Do we need High and Pearl dead ending at Atlantic? Why can't these be eliminated?
Reduce most of the cross streets to one or two lanes and cover them with cobblestones. Cover the ramps (this will most certainly happen when the economy recovers). Most importantly, reduce the width of Atlantic/Surface. There is a lot that can still be done to make this a desirable area. It just needs to be more inviting to people and less inviting to traffic.
The "so now what" is something that is very interesting to me.
I have a good connection in the real estate PR industry - are we going to package these awards up into a press release and send to the media? I would be interested in helping out with this if we think it's a good idea.
Someone should definitely prepare a press release and send it to as many Boston media outlets (from the Globe and TV stations down to the tiniest blogs) possible. Universal Hub already covers what goes on here; they can be first.
It could maybe be sent to national architecture and urban planning associations as well.
If we are going to do that, perhaps we should come up with some ideas as to how to "fix" the greenway. Otherwise, sending something like this out feels a little to much like complaining without giving any solutions to me.
Just a thought. I haven't been around here very long so take it as you will.