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Report urges city to try to recreate success of South Boston waterfront in new Roxbury/Dorchester innovation district

A city task force is urging Boston officials to create a Dudley Square/Uphams Corner "neighborhood innovation district" to bring entrepreneurs, jobs and new housing into the area as start-ups create the next generation of businesses in whatever field the district becomes known for - maybe education, given the new location of BPS headquarters.

The Neighborhood Innovation District Committee says the Dudley/Uphams area has the right base could benefit from tax credits and other spurs in recreating the success of the South Boston Innovation District - but this time atop existing neighborhoods, rather than a sea of parking lots. Lessons learned there could be used to create similar districts in other Boston neighborhoods.

The [Dudley Square-Uphams Corner area] offered strong transportation nodes, including the Dudley Square Bus Depot and the Uphams Corner stop on the Fairmount Line, across both transit and roadways. There was also available commercial space and strong potential partners among area non-profits. ...

Proximate public institutions like Roxbury Community College, Madison Park High School, O’Bryant High School, the Strand Theatre, and several libraries are potential assets. The relocation of the Boston Public Schools headquarters to Dudley Square also offers a potential foundational element to the district. Not only will the new headquarters provide a stream of potential customers for retail businesses, it also offers the potential to offer a unique environment to nurture educational technology firms.

In addition, the physical structure hosting the Boston Public Schools will also house the Roxbury Innovation Center, which will feature a community space hosted by the Venture Café Foundation and community programming produced by Skylab. The City of Boston, through the Boston Redevelopment Authority and other entities, has been engaged in the planning and redevelopment of the area, which provides a strong knowledge base of community needs.

The committee acknowledged the importance of working with existing residents, rather than just trying to gentrify the entire area into a district that is mostly unaffordable to the people who live there now. It pointed to tax credits for low-income housing construction and said developers could perhaps be encouraged to build micro-apartments - of the sort that have so far done nothing to bring down housing prices in the South Boston district.

The highest priority recommendation of the Infrastructure subcommittee in relation to displacement is for the City of Boston to simultaneously develop a Dudley-Uphams Corridor Housing Plan in concert with the Neighborhood Innovation District. Furthermore, it would be helpful to develop a baseline and values statement for what an "ideal" healthy community looks like for the Neighborhood Innovation District, and express the desire to keep the fabric and vibrancy of the existing neighborhood.

The report also calls for building direct transit and technology links between the district and other innovation areas in the region, such as the Longwood Medical Area and Kendall Square.

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Well it already has the silver bus so all they need are massive parking garages and lots of chain restaurants and it will be south Boston waterfronts twin.

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Adam Uphams Corner is firmly in Dorchester

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But in any case, you're right about the essential Dorchesterness of it - I've added "Dorchester" to the headline.

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When I moved to UC 16yrs ago, I thought the boundary was at the T bridge over Dudley St outside of UC. Turns out that was one of the understood redlining boundaries (those were never static). Then became friends with City Archivist, the boundary--according to Land Court--is around Brook Ave. so the Food Project farms are in Dorchester, building possibly not.

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You really have to look at the Dudley Triangle Map for Roxbury,Dorchester and Uphmas Corner. You will be surprised some of the streets of cut in half as Roxbury/Dorchester

DSNI Volunteer

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working people are squeezed out.

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The worst thing the city could do is offer tax incentives for "innovation" firms. All these do is put that much more pressure on the local housing & small commercial markets while simultaneously starving the city of money that might be used to improve things that will actually help those not dripping with money. Tax incentives are a lose-lose all around for everyone but the big firms.

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What kind of tax revenue would one expect from a neighborhood with under $30k household income, where many are on the dole?

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Please provide support for your assertion using recent census info.

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Load up the Boston city data page, scroll down to demographics map and do some clicking, I'm not going to do it for you.

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... as those residents RENT from the rich land barons that own the buildings and pay property taxes. Then every monetary transaction they make living in the neighborhood collects sales/vice/road tax, etc. for the city/state. I think this would be preferred by citizens/residents over inviting big companies to come ruin the neighborhood while getting a tax break.

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Is the primary factor in the Seaport popularity.

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Nice ring to it!

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IMAGE(http://www.ecorazzi.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/blinky-300x238.jpg)

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No place in Dudley to jump off roofs into the water.

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Ya know the city has been dumping government offices and dump trucks full of money into this area for a long time to no avail. In fact big government intervention has done more to blight a once dense vibrant area with vacant lots and anti-urban superblock developments. Maybe a big part of the problem is subsidies and politicized intervention turning off other investors to an area where only the connected seem to get sweetheart deals without major interference.

Change the zoning to let people build something economically viable and stop politicizing the heck out of every development with convoluted public subsidies only a legal eagle could understand and maybe private investors will flock to the area again on their own.

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You speak the truth. Largest landowner in Dudley: Boston Redevelopment Authority. Your case in point: 12 Palmer. http://hubmaps1.cityofboston.gov/egis/Map.aspx?PropertyID=0802523000

Imagine what private developers could do (without subsidies, at that!).

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I see. Now that they have BosVegas, now they want RoxVegas (or DotVegas)?

When will these oafs realize that is an inappropriate paradigm stuck in the 1990s?

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It'll be a hard sell, there's not a lot of ups and a whole load of downs to doing business in that part of town. There's no getting around the ugliness of mass poverty, unless you somehow boot them out. I go to Dudley pretty often these days for BPS business - there's no parking, nothing but fried food to eat and an overall vibe of chaos and neglect. The bus terminal in Dudley is probably the most depressing part of the city, and it dominates the area. A previous poster pretty much nailed it with the comment about so many government buildings doing little to jump start the economy.

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I could've sworn you said South End and something about the 1970s and how awful it is and nobody goes there. Or maybe you said Fenway and the 1980s.

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South End and Fenway had its brownstones and proximity to downtown. JP had its parks, pond and orange line. Parts or Dorchester had its proximity to red line and middle class/blue collar white population, ditto for Southie. What does Dudley have, other than a glorified bus line and nonstop flying bullets?

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Dudley is actually also full of brownstones (actually brick row houses) check out Mt Pleasant, Warren and Dudley St, all lined with brick rows. It has great proximity to the city and Longwood and you can actually get to a highway in less than 15 minutes.
It certainly has its issues but I think you should actually know what you're talking about when criticizing an area.

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I wouldn't exactly call it walking distance, and anyone who tries to walk might as well be walking through a minefield, especially after dark. As for a few brick rowhouses on the main drag, Intervale St has them as well, so do many other streets no one in their right mind would touch with a ten foot pole.

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The South End was a neglected architectural jewel box just waiting to be polished and even then it took a long time. AND more importantly, I don't think it's the model we want to follow here, right? The South End was majority black forty years ago and now what's left? A few blocks of public/subsidized housing surrounded by multimillion dollar homes. No better example anywhere of sweeping, total gentrification. And the Fenway? Completely different--mostly post-industrial stuff that's been transformed into pretty high end housing and student-oriented eateries. I'm just not sure I see a vision for Dudley here that doesn't displace or damage more people than it helps.

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or parts of South Boston if you think that Dudley is the most depressing place in the city. And sheesh--Haley House not good enough food for you? Make a little bit of an effort.

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is some young, urban, professional people to move here and tell everyone how to live and what to do.

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I welcome this idea. The area has such potential. I could be in South Station in less than 15 minutes on the Fairmount line, there's a vast portfolio of (potentially) beautiful Victorian architecture, and the gorgeous Strand Theater. That being said... I was so glad to get out of that neighborhood. The lack of amenities, high crime, and general scumminess of everything eventually wore me down. I would love to see more investment from the public and private sector in that neighborhood to make it all it can be. I hope they make this happen, without displacing all the people who have made the area home for so long.

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How do you get rid of the crime and the scumminess without er...getting rid of people? And I ask that honestly--and yes, I know that the majority are law-abiding decent folks but the bad parts tend to be pretty tightly woven in with the good parts. If you make it nice enough so that "nice" people want to live there, then they do, forcing out the poor people. It's just how things work, for better or worse.

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Preferably something other than a Dunkin, but it needs something. When I attended a Strand Theatre performance a couple of years ago and asked the folks at Uphams Corner Main Street where to get coffee before the show, they told me to get back on my bike and ride towards Savin Hill!

EDIT: Oops, I confused this thread with the one about Highland Park.... but I'll let it stand anyway, because every neighborhood needs a coffee shop, whether or not it's going to be innovating.

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Yeah the American Seafood Exchange sounds like it would be a great success and cost effective for the seafood industry!

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