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Urban Renewal

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centralartery-boston

I’m not sure how many museum exhibits have dealt with the disaster that is urban renewal honestly, especially in the affected neighborhood. So I really want to see this exhibit. In part so I can figure out what this is about:

“What happened in the West End is not something we’re necessarily proud of, but urban renewal by and large has had very positive effects for the city of Boston,” Corey Zehngebot, a senior urban designer and architect for the BRA, told Boston.com. “[Urban renewal] is definitely a phrase that people hear and have a visceral negative response to. We knew it would be challenging to go out and talk to people about a topic that has a lot of historical baggage.”

So what were the benefits of urban renewal again? I guess since the exhibit’s focus is the Housing Act of 1949, that’s probably what the answer is–a lot of federally funded housing, at least for white people. And I’m not going to romanticize the slums and the state of the nation’s housing stock at the end of World War II–there were a lot of problems!–but I’m not sure it was by and large very positive for Boston. Except for the North End which miraculously avoided it.

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