The BRA’s 1967 Plan

1967_bra_plan

Bob Kaye of MassDevelopment passed this image along to me with the original label taped to the back:

BOSTON REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, BOSTON, MASS.  FOR RELEASE MAY 19, 1967

CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT URBAN RENEWAL PLAN  MORNING PAPERS

“THIS ARTIST’S RENDERING SHOWS DOWNTOWN BOSTON AS IT WILL APPEAR IN 1975. THE AREA SHOWN COVERS FOUR URBAN PROJECTS – THE CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT, SOUTH COVE, WATERFRONT, AND GOVERNMENT CENTER.”

Some things to notice:

1.       Government Center is depicted as “done” but including Pei/Cobbs proposed bar buildings parallel to Congress Street – thus eliminating the Blackstone Block and the Union Oyster House.

2.       Nothing is proposed on the future Federal Reserve Bank site

3.       Please note elevated pedestrian walkway from South Station to Washington Street by way of future One Financial Center and parking garages

4.       A third Harbor Tower

5.       A surgical approach to high-rise development that fairly accurately predicts the build-out of Downtown Boston during the ensuing thirty-plus years (generally, if not in the details)

-Tim

2 thoughts on “The BRA’s 1967 Plan

  1. As our Heroic collaborator @microkubo points out, the South Station master plan (and stadium site that was the focus for a RISD studio a few years back) is indeed a Sert project. (see folder B056A here: http://bit.ly/bBPdZo). It’s also part of the book 1965/1975 General Plan for the City of Boston and the regional core, published by the BRA under Mayor Collins.

  2. Tim thanks for posting this little gem. Two great things that this image illustrates – One, that good things happen from good planning…if we have the patience to wait for them. These good things might take a little longer than our genetic Bostonian impatience would prefer, but this (and other planning initiatives from roughly the same era) shows that when the BRA takes the time to do thoughtful, thorough, professional planning and sticks to it, the city benefits — then, as now. The second thing this image illustrates is how lucky the city is that the BRA determined sometime in the early 1980s that building prototypes like Rowes Wharf and Battery Wharf (which were eventually codified into the Harborpark Plan) were far preferable on the waterfront to building prototypes like Harbor Towers — hence no third tower….or its inevitable successors, which would otherwise have sprouted along the waterfront as the Harbor was cleaned up and elective urban living came into vogue in the decades after this plan was originally published. Let’s also be thankful that the artist rendering this image wasn’t subsequently given the commission to master plan park plaza…….

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