Residents want integration - BRA & TCB defend segregated plan

Today's papers show the BRA and The Community Builders denying and obscuring the reality of the segregated housing that they want to build in the new Charlesview.

Felicia Jacques's misleading statistic that the "median income for a family of four at Charlesview is $45,100" lumps together the market-rate Telford St condo tower and the low-income Brighton Mills apartments. How about a proposal where Telford St and Brighton Mills each have approximately the same median income, with a range of housing for all people at both sites?

Can we get housing at Brighton Mills like what The Community Builders wrote about in their report "Resident Success in Economically Integrated, Socially Diverse Housing"?

"public housing residents, working poor families, and market rate renters and owners, of different races, will live side by side in a high quality housing development, with first-rate program supports, culturally sensitive staff, and broadly appealing community activities"

For some unknown reason, The Community Builders thinks that kind of integration is great for other neighborhoods but not ours.

I don't know who Kairos Shen has heard using the phrase "low-income enclave", but as they say, if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. The yellow highlighting shows the low-income housing on the Brighton Mills site.

To make clear, my neighbors and I are not opposed to the relocation of Charlesview. We will gladly support a new Charlesview as part of a modern mixed-income neighborhood consistent with today's best ideas of housing development. Segregating people by income level, repeating the discredited ideas of the 20th century, is not the way to go.

New Allston plan draws fire -

Quotes from the neighbors:

“There are still not enough homeownership opportunities and they’re not mixed throughout the development,” said Sal Pinchera, a member of an eight-member panel that advises City Hall on the project.

Paul Berkeley, president of the Allston Civic Association, said while the revised project is an improvement, he’s not sure the plan will win over critics.“It definitely has improved, but is it enough to turn public opinion?” he said.

Quotes from the developer and BRA:

“We listened to the community and changed the mix of housing to include moderate and market-rate units, plus 100 homeownership units,” said Felicia Jacques, director of development for Community Builders. “We also think it is important for the community to understand that the median income for a family of four at Charlesview is $45,100, which is in alignment with neighborhood income for a household of four.”

“The developer says that the new Charlesview is a mixed-income neighborhood, and that’s true,” said Kairos Shen, the BRA’s planning director. “But they haven’t articulated it very clearly and people have mischaracterized this as a low-income enclave.”

Relocated Allston housing complex will be spread out - The Boston Globe

“We’ve asked the builder to build a truly diverse mixed-income community, and not just put 260 apartments in one big mass,’’ said Harry Mattison, an Allston resident who opposes the current plan.


  1. Anonymous10:00 AM

    When is the next meeting on this subject? They keep happening when I am out of town.

    It's great that they dropped the density somewhat, but how can they consider it mixed income if the buildings for low-income and market-rate are separate? That's like saying a slice of bread with jam sitting next to a slice of bread with peanut butter is a PBJ sandwich. If they want to call it mixed income, they have to mix it.

  2. richena,

    Good PBJ analogy.

    The next meeting (and it will be an important one) is Monday, August 24, 2009 at 6:30pm at the Allston Brighton Resource Center Community Room, 376 Western Avenue (across the street from Brighton Mills).


  3. Anonymous10:50 PM

    The Community Builders, and The Charlesview Board are A bunch of "LIARS"

  4. It seems weird that they want to economically segregate housing in Allston/Brighton after making such a big deal about their efforts to DEsegregate the Charlestown projects.