Dynamic neighborhood worth preserving

April 7, 2011

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RE “CASTING a shadow on Back Bay’s future’’ (Op-ed, April 1): Paul McMorrow makes the point that in rejecting then-mayor John Collins’s proposed high-rises on Commonwealth Avenue, Boston prevented the destruction of “Boston’s answer to Paris’’ in the Back Bay. But in the same piece, McMorrow seems to accept the overwhelming of neighborhood scale in the Fenway.

He approvingly cites Berklee College of Music’s proposal to build two high-rises on Massachusetts Avenue near Boylston Street. This would be a serious blow to another treasured and historic neighborhood of Boston. The Fenway is characterized by a unique artistic and creative vitality, fostered because of diversity and affordability. If Commonwealth Avenue is the Champs-Elysees of Boston, then the Fenway is the Left Bank and the Latin Quarter. Its dynamism is too precious to lose. As long as we are going to have a “High Spine’’ in Boston, and not follow Paris in constructing new high-rises far away from the historic city neighborhoods (as Paris did with La Defense), we should at least agree that taller buildings should be well away from both Commonwealth Avenue and the Fenway’s Massachusetts Avenue.

Robert Case
The writer has been a member of a limited-equity housing cooperative, the First Fenway Cooperative, since its founding in 1980.