Since roughly 1969, one question has vexed every Boston mayor:
What the hell to do with City Hall Plaza?
And the answer that has routinely come back:
Damned if we know.
But relief is in site. From the current issue of The Atlantic:
Reclaiming the Public Square
Cleveland is the latest city to call on James Corner, the landscape architect behind New York’s High Line, to revive an urban park.
To hear Clevelanders talk, Public Square is a place you pass through to reach somewhere else. When Moses Cleaveland laid out the town in 1796, he imagined the open area at its center as a New England–style commons: a gathering space for settlers, a grazing area for livestock. But its natural position as a transit hub—first for stagecoaches and streetcars, later for buses and automobiles—steadily intruded on that civic purpose. Despite efforts by some residents to preserve it as a park, including a decade-long stretch in the 19th century when it was fenced off to horse-drawn wagons, roads and traffic triumphed over people and place.
“Over the years, it just turned into more like a series of big traffic islands,” says the landscape architect James Corner . . . [Of] the square’s 10 acres, more than six are paved over with concrete or asphalt.
Corner, as Eric Jaffe’s Atlantic piece notes, “has been called a landscape ‘rock star’ and mentioned as a modern successor to Frederick Law Olmsted, the visionary behind Central Park.”
Not to mention the visionary behind Boston’s Emerald Necklace.
So how about it, Marty?
You can reach James Corner Fields Operations at 212-433-1450.
Make the call, wouldya?
And end the City Hall Pathetic Redesign Project once and for all.