Month: April 2010

weekly blight, chestnut hill.

So my boyfriend and I have recently purchased a home (stay tuned for many “living in an historic home” moments).  What does this mean?  Lots of Zipcar trips to the suburbs to look at fixtures, appliances, and furniture at unpleasantly large stores in unpleasantly sprawly neighborhoods.  And of course, lots of good blight.  Last weekend I took these rockin’ photos of a big old house under demolition, and this weekend I bring you the rear of a massive abandoned supermarket off of Rte. 9 in Chestnut Hill, right near the Atrium Mall.  We had so much fun driving around it that my boyfriend suggested that we take and post photos of a different “blitten” location after every weekend’s excursion.  I expect him to hold me to it. Advertisements

a visit to charleston, south carolina

Well, probably at least two lousy posts.  As you might have guessed, last month I took a trip to Charleston, South Carolina.  It was four days of straight-up historic preservation and urban planning geekery, and I now have a final paper on historic districts and zoning and how the two struggle to manage growth in this historic city. What do I mean, you ask?  I’m so glad you did.  Charleston has the distinction of being the first city to pass a Historic District Ordinance, in 1931.  Faced with a crisis of historic building demolition in the wake of the Depression, and an economy destroyed by the Civil War, Charleston began to consider how they could preserve their precious historic resources and promote recovery at the same time.  Land-use Zoning was still a very new concept at this time, but Charleston went at it full-force, creating a Board of Architectural Review (BAR) to review changes to building facades in the designated historic district.  Since that time, the district has expanded, as has the power of the …

of memory and myth-making.

Frank Rich’s as-always-spot-on Sunday article this week is about the power of revisionist history to challenge accepted narratives and remake the most basic concepts of history, identity, and responsibility in our country.  I hope to talk more about the changes to the history curriculum proposed in Texas and other conservative states which, terrifying as they are, are a powerful testament to the importance of history in our educational system.  But for now suffice it to say that attempts to change or even destroy memory must be challenged and resisted with equally powerful campaigns to restore the collective memories we share, however unpleasant.

dudley square.

Okay, so I’m crawling out from the abyss that is graduate school project deadlines.  Expect me to be fully back in action soon, with some posts about my recent trip to Charleston, SC, some article reviews, and other thoughts on things city, history, and walking.  Today, though, I want to talk about Dudley Square, where I work at Haley House’s Take Back the Kitchen.  Dudley is an incredible historic neighborhood and is the heart and soul of Roxbury. Take the time to come visit Haley House Bakery Cafe, attend a tour with Discover Roxbury, and explore this dynamic community. There are several vacant parcels like these at the intersection of Melnea Cass Blvd. and Washington Streets.  The BRA is considering options for developing these parcels and holds regular community meetings to discuss the relationship between these projects and the Roxbury Master Plan.  The Plan is somewhat contentious because not all community members believe that this important citizen-led planning initiative has led to citizen-led decisionmaking.  Read more about the BRA in Roxbury and RMP Oversight Committee …