by Edward (Mike) Healy (MUP '13)
Boston's Fenway-Kenmore/Longwood district hosts an array of assets that offer immense benefit to all of New England: museums, tourist attractions, and a baseball stadium that attract 9 million outside visitors each year, 42,000 jobs through employers on the cutting edge of the economy, and more than $1 billion in awarded annual grant money secured by world class institutions such as Boston University and the hospitals and research institutions of the Longwood Medical Area.
In a search for types of equitable development that go beyond affordable housing and neighborhood-based development strategies, The Peoples' Downtown plan proposes to leverage these same New England-benefitting assets on behalf of the people of Boston's neighborhoods, utilizing institutional infrastructure, expertise and human capital to engender engines of broad-based, democratic growth in the forms of:
- A Longwood Medical Area Workforce Development Headquarters
- A Boston University/Emmanuel College Urban Education Lab
- A Northeastern University & Wentworth Inst. of Technology Digital Media Academy for Boston’s young people and small businesses
- A Citywide Enrichment Center and Citizens’ Performance Venue programmatically connected to the Museum of Fine Arts and Berklee College of Music
- A Little League Baseball stadium in the shadow of a certain famous ballpark.
Financed via PILOT funds, TIF bonds and the auction of I-90 development air rights, The Peoples’ Downtown would offer the promise of locally focused investment that offers a step towards prosperity and inclusion for every citizen of Boston.