5proulx - Charlestown Public Housing Projects the site...

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Charlestown Public Housing Projects± the site natural processes changes over time artifacts, layers, traces, and trends 4.211J/11.016J the once + future city, spring Julie Proulx 2006
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Charlestown Public Housing Projects Julie Proulx 4.211J/11.016J, spring 2006 the site natural processes change over time artifacts, layers, traces, and trends The Navy Yard in Charlestown, MA has become a real estate hot spot for upper-middle class Bostonians. Separated from the rest of Charlestown by the Tobin Bridge, the wealth of this neighborhood becomes immediately evident. Lavish new apartment buildings, condos, and row houses, designed to emulate the traditional colonial style for which Boston is known, cover the area. Just north of the east-west running Tobin Bridge, two series of low-income, subsidized housing appear. These housing projects are bordered by Charlestown High School and Community Center on the west side, the high school’s fields, Barry Playground, and the Little Mystic Channel to the north, Bunker Hill Street to the south, and the Tobin Bridge on the eastern side. Two blocks southwest from these housing projects, Monument Square, where the Bunker Hill Monument commemorates the United States’ victory during the American Revolution, marks the last stop on the Freedom Trail and a major tourist destination. Two blocks southeast beyond the Tobin Bridge, the Charlestown Navy Yard sits with its coveted, high-priced, harbor-view condominiums and town houses. Because of the anomalies created by the close distance between these successful areas and a cluster of housing projects in need of repair, how did this site come to exist as low-income housing? What made this land available for such housing projects? Was it once a neighborhood similar to the area around Monument Square, composed of multifamily houses? Did the topography of Bunker Hill and the harbor influence the area’s use as low-income housing?
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On site, the different styles of these residential projects evoke different experiences and suggest different construction dates. New Town Development which seems slightly younger than Charlestown Housing displays 1970s modern white-painted wood paneling with large glass windows which encase the common stairways and project from the confining walls of the apartments. Although connected, the staircases and housing units are staggered in relation to one another providing each with a more individual feel (as seen on the map). The white color generates a feeling of elegance and cleanliness despite the trash-strewn streets and over-grown weeded areas between complexes. The New Town Development also borders the Little Mystic Channel which could be considered a “waterfront view” regardless of its unpleasant site of the Mass Port Auto Terminal across the way. The Charlestown Housing project resembles a more traditional style of low-income housing. The three story buildings, made
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This note was uploaded on 11/10/2011 for the course ARCH 4.101 taught by Professor Williamhubbardassn during the Spring '03 term at MIT.

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5proulx - Charlestown Public Housing Projects the site...

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