In this paper, you are asked to continue your analysis of your neighborhood completed in the first paper by examining a current plan, trend, and or important issue in the neighborhood, and to conduct an analysis of the positions and opinions of various neighborhood stakeholders.
Please select an issue from the list below (or one of your choosing), selecting one that is salient to your neighborhood (a current priority to those planning for or living in the community). You may customize the issue (e.g. you might take on a certain aspect of gentrification, such as what a change from rental housing to owner-occupied might mean for the community) if you wish.
• Gentrification (tenure shifts, e.g. increase of owner-occupied over rental; cultural changes in neighborhood; housing stock changes)
• Housing and urban design (preservation and densification of housing; design’s effects on sense of community)
• Demographic changes (immigration, aging, cultural changes in neighborhood)
• Sea level rise / environmental concerns
• Housing and schools (relation between schools/school quality and demographics of neighborhood, mobility of families with children)
• Transportation and other major infrastructure plans/investments
• Public safety and policing (to what extent does housing (quality, design, location) play a role in safety of neighborhood?)
In your paper, you should provide some background on the issue (if not done in the first paper), explaining if the issue is a recent or longstanding concern, and how it is reflected in current plans for the neighborhood, public investments in infrastructure, housing developments, community activism, etc.
You are also asked to consider what stakeholders in the community feel about the issue. Each of the neighborhoods that were the focus of this semester’s first paper is the subject of attention by the non-profit, for-profit and public sectors. Each has at least one community based organization (some have several) working to improve the quality of life in the community. Most have mission-driven institutions (hospitals, universities, museums, etc.) that have their own agendas and therefore care about changes in the neighborhood. Private developers and property owners are anxious to take advantage of Boston’s strong markets to add new properties to the matrix that already exists. Public agencies have plans that they believe will make these places better environments for living, working and playing. Local politicians have their own views on the challenges and needed responses in their neighborhoods. How do each of these stakeholders view the issue you’ve chosen? Do citizens, community groups, the city, etc. all share the same sense of priority about it? What would each stakeholder like to see for the future of their community?
You might also consider the root challenge for each stakeholder. For example, do they identify an event or a previous plan that was implemented that led to current challenges? Do they cite outdated zoning, lack of an employment base, insufficient affordable housing? Another angle you might take is to ask how stakeholders’ interests, priorities, and understanding of their neighborhood’s history is reflected in a particular plan or development proposal. Given the analysis of stakeholders’ interests, priorities, and understanding of their neighborhood’s history, is there a clear way forward under the particular plan/project?
In your stakeholder analysis, please be sure to include resident and city staffer perspectives, and as many of the other perspectives that are relevant in the neighborhood you are studying: local politicians, community based organizations (CBOs), institutions, and major business and/or development interests. (Resident interests are perhaps best understood through CBOs, but consider if there are voices that are perhaps not represented through these organizations). While you ought to rely on written sources as well, this paper requires at least 5 stakeholder interviews. Please document these at the conclusion of the paper (it’s fine if the subject wishes to remain anonymous, but some descriptive detail is helpful – e.g. “18 year resident” is fine).
You will find neighborhood plans on the websites of Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville. You may also find out about local plans and development projects through newspaper articles, and the web sites of neighborhood-based organizations or development and planning-oriented organizations such as the Greater Boston Real Estate Board or the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.
Your paper should be 10 pages in length and also draw on the material discussed in class. Maps, photos, and other images are welcome.