City Organizer: Brendan Kearney
Walk Leader: Jim O’Connell
Photographs by: Ann Marie O’Connell and Jessic Dello Rosso
The 2019 Jane’s Walk in Boston explored the Seaport District, which has been transformed from a fading pier area full of parking lots into a booming neighborhood of 20-story offices and residential towers. Boston University Professor Jim O’Connell distributed to the 40 tour participants a sheet of urban planning maxims from Jane Jacobs to critique the recent development in Boston’s Seaport.
The tour participants favorably rated the Harborwalk, which provides beautiful views across Boston’s harbor to the downtown skyline, Logan Airport, and the Boston Harbor Islands. The walkers were less impressed by many of the glass-box office towers, which seemed generic and lacked a distinctive Boston quality. They picked up on Jane’s concern that there might be “no hint that here is a city with a tradition and flavor all its own.” The tour enabled participants to see buildings that are still under construction. The group expressed hope that the new construction would ultimately spur the “ballet of the sidewalks” that Jane Jacobs valued. Walkers declared that they would return again to the Seaport with a deeper understanding of how the neighborhood was developing.