I’ve just wrapped up a 3 night say in Boston in the new ‘hip & trendy’ Seaport area that’s full of start-ups, corporates that are looking for that start-up/millennial vibe, and lots of expensive restaurants, clubs, coffee shops and hipster apartments.
This is where the old (1800’s) fish market area was on land that lies between Logan Airport and downtown Boston - just opposite where one of the defining founding moments of the USA occurred, the Boston Tea Party. I assume 10 years ago it was seen to be a dodgy, generally no-go area by most tourists and locals alike. Today it’s all fully-renovated 2-5 story red-brick buildings and heaps of 10-15 story modern steel & glass office towers, hotels & apartment blocks and I’m told the most expensive housing in Boston. Hardly a patch of grass to be found anywhere once you leave water’s edge but a number of outdoor seating areas for restaurant and coffee shop patrons - the heat island index is very high in this area. The city workers this week are putting the finishing touches on the median–landscaping and installing the last few cobblestone sidewalks – its a complete gentrification/redevelopment of an entire district in one go. No doubt many years in the making.
Still way too car centric with narrow sidewalks for my liking, but there are an impressive number of both tourists and local white–collar/millennial workers on the sidewalks through–out the day, LED street lighting, the silver-line bus stop in dedicated bus tunnels runs right underneath from Logan Airport to South Station and a solid mix of living, working, entertainment, museums, hotels & restaurants all in one 20-block area. I’d say the location is going to be a great success from a real–estate development and tax base POV and is a good, though rare, example of what a Smart City district in the USA in 2018 looks like – so still lots of room for improvement.
One reason Boston is one of my favorite US cities is its relative humanistic scale for a large city, the sheer number of young people due to the concentration of so many colleges & universities, and a really good public transportation system, at least for the central areas. Whenever I come here, as long as I don’t have more luggage than one person can deal with, I find the public transportation to/from the airport to be amongst the best in the US (relatively low bar, I know, but still it works well). After arriving by car to Boston, which I returned to the rental agency at the airport on my arrival, I was able to either walk or use the public transportation network for all of my getting around over the 3 days.