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Beyond The Big Dig
About this project

What happens to the ribbon of land being created by the depression of the Central Artery may be the most important development decision to face Boston in a generation.


Open Space Options for Land above the Central Artery to be examined by The Boston Globe and MIT, in association with WCVB-TV5

Public Information Campaign To Culminate In Town Forum May 30

BOSTON, MA, February 5, 2002 – A major exploration of the open space options for the new land being created by the depression of the Central Artery will be undertaken by The Boston Globe and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in association with WCVB-TV Channel 5.

Entitled "Beyond the Big Dig," the project will bring together business leaders, landscape architects, urban planners, academics and community advocates to explore the issues and consider the alternatives for this prime downtown land.

The undertaking will feature extensive reporting by the Boston Globe, both in its news columns and its editorial and Op-Ed pages, four special editions of WCVB-TV5's "Chronicle" newsmagazine, and in-depth research by MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning. In addition, the project will host two citywide forums in which the public will be invited to make proposals for use of the space. The enterprise will culminate in a Town Forum at Faneuil Hall on the evening of Thursday, May 30, 2002.

In addition, ideas, proposals and commentary will be presented on The Boston Globe's website, Boston.com, which will also provide interactive discussion groups, streamed video and community bulletin boards.

"We are very excited to collaborate again with MIT and WCVB-TV5 on what we consider to be a critically important project," said Richard Gilman, publisher of The Boston Globe. "Our goal is to provide the public and decision makers with a wealth of information they can use for the benefit of the entire community, and to elevate the debate about the options for this unique space."

MIT's President Charles M. Vest also voiced his commitment to the endeavor. "The thirty acres that will become available once the Central Artery is buried underground represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape Boston's downtown," he said. "We hope that this collaborative effort will generate widespread interest and lead to the best possible use of this land for the enjoyment of generations to come."

The two major community workshops to be convened as part of the enterprise will be led by The Boston Foundation and the Boston Society of Architects. They will feature a three dimensional simulation of the Central Artery corridor to prompt suggestions for the design and programming of the new space. The workshops are scheduled for the months of April and May at English High School and the Boston Center for the Arts.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis will serve as the moderator for the Faneuil Hall Town Forum, which will present the recommendations of expert panelists, hear testimony from a panel of local respondents, and invite audience commentary.

Experts in the key areas of urban planning, landscape architecture, real estate development and civic betterment will participate in the project and sit on the panel at the Town Forum. They are: Jill Ker Conway, chairman of Lend Lease Corporation board and former president of Smith College; Hubie Jones, special assistant to the Chancellor of UMass Boston and co-director of the Boston City-to-City Exchange Program; Laurie Olin, one of the nation's foremost landscape architects; and Betsy Barlow Rogers, director of the Landscape and Design Program at Bard Graduate Center, and former president of the Central Park Conservancy and Central Park administrator.

MIT and The Boston Globe are convening the project in association with the Boston Society of Architects and the Boston Society of Landscape Architects. The principal underwriters are the State Street Corporation and The Boston Foundation. Additional sponsors are Equity Office Properties Trust, the Artery Business Committee and GreenSpace Alliance.

"Beyond the Big Dig" is the fourth in a series of major events convened by the Globe and MIT to explore the evolving future of Boston. The previous subject areas were the 1980's Boston real estate development boom examined in 1984, regional intermodal transportation in 1994, and the future of Boston Harbor in 1998.

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