Boston has been a national leader in efforts to bring much needed public and affordable housing to its residents. However, the city’s housing legacy is as complicated as it is innovative. This four-part series will look at the history of six housing sites across the city and examine the conditions for affordable and public housing today, highlighting the challenges—and opportunities—that lie ahead for Boston.

October 2019
Housing as History Housing as History: Columbia Point and Commonwealth 2 October 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Lawrence Vale, Ford Professor of Urban Design and Planning, MIT; Jane Roessner, author, "A Decent Place To Live: From Columbia Point to Harbor Point-A Community History"; Charlie Titus, Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Recreation, Special Projects and Program, UMass Boston This program will be held at MHS. In 1979, after touring public housing sites with deplorable conditions, Massachusetts Superior Court ...

In 1979, after touring public housing sites with deplorable conditions, Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Paul Garrity ordered the Boston Housing Authority into receivership. Lewis H. (Harry) Spence was appointed as receiver. As Spence oversaw a massive redevelopment of the fourth largest housing authority in America, two very different housing models emerged: Columbia Point in Dorchester and Commonwealth in Brighton. Columbia Point was the largest public housing complex in New England and had once been a source of pride. However, a quarter century after it opened, it stood neglected, isolated, and mostly vacant. When it was redeveloped into the new community of Harbor Point, less than one-third of the resultant apartments were targeted to public housing residents. By contrast, Commonwealth remained 100% public housing. Nearly two-thirds of its original residents, many of whom had been deeply involved in the site’s redevelopment, were able to return to the site. This conversation will explore these outcomes, situating these redevelopments in the overall history of the Boston Housing Authority.

This program is made possible by the generosity of Mass Humanities and the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

 

 

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Housing as History Housing as History: Villa Victoria and the Fenway Community Development Corporation 16 October 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Mario Luis Small, Grafstein Professor of Sociology, Harvard University; Mathew Thall, founding Executive Director, Fenway CDC; Mayra I. Negrón-Roche, COO, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción Location: Blackstone Community Center, 50 W. Brookline St, Boston, MA 02118. In the 1960s and 1970s Boston struggled to stem urban flight and a landscape of deteriorating ...

In the 1960s and 1970s Boston struggled to stem urban flight and a landscape of deteriorating housing stock. Massive redevelopment projects, such as the razing of the West End, sent shockwaves through the city. By the mid-1960s, the South End found itself the focus of redevelopment plans. A group of mostly Puerto Rican residents began to meet and then incorporated as the Emergency Tenants’ Council, which became Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción, Inc. (IBA). In 1969, following a widespread campaign, the IBA won the right to serve as the developer for their neighborhood and; using the architecture of Puerto Rico as inspiration, built Villa Victoria. A few years later and few blocks away, the Fenway neighborhood faced the Fenway Urban Renewal Plan (FURP), which planned to clear sections of the neighborhood. local residents sued the city to block FURP and won the right to have a neighborhood-elected board become part of the decision-making process. Out of these efforts came the Fenway CDC with a mission to develop and maintain affordable housing and advocate on behalf of a vibrant and diverse community.

Please note: This program will be held at Blackstone Community Center, 50 W. Brookline St, Boston, MA 02118.

This program is made possible by the generosity of Mass Humanities and the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

More
November 2019
Housing as History Housing as History: the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative and Orchard Gardens 13 November 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Karilyn Crockett, Lecturer of Public Policy and Urban Planning, MIT; Tony Hernandez, Director of Operations and Stewardship, Dudley Neighbors, Inc.; Valerie Shelley, President, Orchard Gardens Resident Association Location: Dewitt Center, 122 Dewitt Drive, Boston, MA 02120 By the 1980s the Dudley Square neighborhood of Roxbury was facing significant challenges. Absentee ...

By the 1980s the Dudley Square neighborhood of Roxbury was facing significant challenges. Absentee landlords had allowed property to deteriorate, left units vacant, or had used arson to raze buildings and make insurance claims. Facing what many considered insurmountable obstacles, the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative was formed to create a comprehensive plan for “development without displacement.” The first non-governmental organization in America to be granted eminent domain authority, they began purchasing vacant land, protecting affordable housing and creating a community land trust. Meanwhile, the nearby housing project Orchard Park became notorious for crime and drugs. The Orchard Park Tenants Association lobbied for years for improvements and by the mid-1990s began to see a path forward partnering with the police and using community organizing to reduce crime and linking the redevelopment to the new federal HOPE VI program which was meant to revitalize the worst housing projects in America. HOPE VI was in part modeled on the redevelopment of Columbia Point and encouraged partnerships with private developers and a mixture of incomes among the residents. Through community action and smart development, Orchard Park was redeveloped as Orchard Gardens and became a safe, stable neighborhood.

This program is made possible by the generosity of Mass Humanities and the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

More
Housing as History Housing as History: New Directions for Boston’s Subsidized Housing: Learning from the Past 20 November 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. William McGonagle, former Administrator, Boston Housing Authority; Soni Gupta, Director of Neighborhoods and Housing, The Boston Foundation; Lawrence Vale, Ford Professor of Urban Design and Planning, MIT; Sandra Henriquez, Executive Director, Detroit Housing Commission; former administrator and CEO, Boston Housing Authority; and moderator David Luberoff, Deputy Director, Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies This program will be held at MHS. As neighborhoods across Boston face enormous development pressure, there is a risk that low-income ...

As neighborhoods across Boston face enormous development pressure, there is a risk that low-income residents will be forced out of the city. Social disruption due to gentrification, shifting government policies and programs, and the challenges of climate change make the future of affordable housing in Boston precarious. In the past, Boston modeled creative and successful solutions to dire housing problems, and there is hope that the city can continue to deploy innovative policies that will brighten the future for all city residents. Our final panel in this series will look at the future of affordable housing in Boston, taking stock of past lessons learned.

 

 

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Housing as History Housing as History: Columbia Point and Commonwealth Register registration required at no cost 2 October 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Lawrence Vale, Ford Professor of Urban Design and Planning, MIT; Jane Roessner, author, "A Decent Place To Live: From Columbia Point to Harbor Point-A Community History"; Charlie Titus, Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Recreation, Special Projects and Program, UMass Boston This program will be held at MHS.

In 1979, after touring public housing sites with deplorable conditions, Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Paul Garrity ordered the Boston Housing Authority into receivership. Lewis H. (Harry) Spence was appointed as receiver. As Spence oversaw a massive redevelopment of the fourth largest housing authority in America, two very different housing models emerged: Columbia Point in Dorchester and Commonwealth in Brighton. Columbia Point was the largest public housing complex in New England and had once been a source of pride. However, a quarter century after it opened, it stood neglected, isolated, and mostly vacant. When it was redeveloped into the new community of Harbor Point, less than one-third of the resultant apartments were targeted to public housing residents. By contrast, Commonwealth remained 100% public housing. Nearly two-thirds of its original residents, many of whom had been deeply involved in the site’s redevelopment, were able to return to the site. This conversation will explore these outcomes, situating these redevelopments in the overall history of the Boston Housing Authority.

This program is made possible by the generosity of Mass Humanities and the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

 

 

close

Housing as History Housing as History: Villa Victoria and the Fenway Community Development Corporation Register registration required at no cost 16 October 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Mario Luis Small, Grafstein Professor of Sociology, Harvard University; Mathew Thall, founding Executive Director, Fenway CDC; Mayra I. Negrón-Roche, COO, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción Location: Blackstone Community Center, 50 W. Brookline St, Boston, MA 02118.

In the 1960s and 1970s Boston struggled to stem urban flight and a landscape of deteriorating housing stock. Massive redevelopment projects, such as the razing of the West End, sent shockwaves through the city. By the mid-1960s, the South End found itself the focus of redevelopment plans. A group of mostly Puerto Rican residents began to meet and then incorporated as the Emergency Tenants’ Council, which became Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción, Inc. (IBA). In 1969, following a widespread campaign, the IBA won the right to serve as the developer for their neighborhood and; using the architecture of Puerto Rico as inspiration, built Villa Victoria. A few years later and few blocks away, the Fenway neighborhood faced the Fenway Urban Renewal Plan (FURP), which planned to clear sections of the neighborhood. local residents sued the city to block FURP and won the right to have a neighborhood-elected board become part of the decision-making process. Out of these efforts came the Fenway CDC with a mission to develop and maintain affordable housing and advocate on behalf of a vibrant and diverse community.

Please note: This program will be held at Blackstone Community Center, 50 W. Brookline St, Boston, MA 02118.

This program is made possible by the generosity of Mass Humanities and the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

close

Housing as History Housing as History: the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative and Orchard Gardens Register registration required at no cost 13 November 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Karilyn Crockett, Lecturer of Public Policy and Urban Planning, MIT; Tony Hernandez, Director of Operations and Stewardship, Dudley Neighbors, Inc.; Valerie Shelley, President, Orchard Gardens Resident Association Location: Dewitt Center, 122 Dewitt Drive, Boston, MA 02120

By the 1980s the Dudley Square neighborhood of Roxbury was facing significant challenges. Absentee landlords had allowed property to deteriorate, left units vacant, or had used arson to raze buildings and make insurance claims. Facing what many considered insurmountable obstacles, the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative was formed to create a comprehensive plan for “development without displacement.” The first non-governmental organization in America to be granted eminent domain authority, they began purchasing vacant land, protecting affordable housing and creating a community land trust. Meanwhile, the nearby housing project Orchard Park became notorious for crime and drugs. The Orchard Park Tenants Association lobbied for years for improvements and by the mid-1990s began to see a path forward partnering with the police and using community organizing to reduce crime and linking the redevelopment to the new federal HOPE VI program which was meant to revitalize the worst housing projects in America. HOPE VI was in part modeled on the redevelopment of Columbia Point and encouraged partnerships with private developers and a mixture of incomes among the residents. Through community action and smart development, Orchard Park was redeveloped as Orchard Gardens and became a safe, stable neighborhood.

This program is made possible by the generosity of Mass Humanities and the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

close

Housing as History Housing as History: New Directions for Boston’s Subsidized Housing: Learning from the Past Register registration required 20 November 2019.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30. William McGonagle, former Administrator, Boston Housing Authority; Soni Gupta, Director of Neighborhoods and Housing, The Boston Foundation; Lawrence Vale, Ford Professor of Urban Design and Planning, MIT; Sandra Henriquez, Executive Director, Detroit Housing Commission; former administrator and CEO, Boston Housing Authority; and moderator David Luberoff, Deputy Director, Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies This program will be held at MHS.

As neighborhoods across Boston face enormous development pressure, there is a risk that low-income residents will be forced out of the city. Social disruption due to gentrification, shifting government policies and programs, and the challenges of climate change make the future of affordable housing in Boston precarious. In the past, Boston modeled creative and successful solutions to dire housing problems, and there is hope that the city can continue to deploy innovative policies that will brighten the future for all city residents. Our final panel in this series will look at the future of affordable housing in Boston, taking stock of past lessons learned.

 

 

close