Charlesview public comments

Below are the comments received by the BRA for the just-concluded comment period for the Charlesview DPIR. Many great, thoughtful letters from Allston and Brighton residents who unanimously favor a better development than what has currently been proposed.

Two of the letters are from Charlesview residents : one of them writing that "i also support the neighborhood view that harvard should be more committed as far as revitalizing the neighborhood" (page 7) and one that vigorously rejects the current proposal for many reasons (page 26).

Other Charlesview residents signed their names to postcards (probably printed and distributed by Charlesview management and/or The Community Builders) explaining that they are "excited about the chance to move to a new home". Considering that there are 550 people in 213 apartments at Charlesview (according to the 2000 Census) I am surprised that only 70 people were willing to sign these postcards (fewer than one person for every three apartments). What does it tell us about the support (or lack thereof) for Charlesview's proposal when so few of the current Charlesview residents would support it? Maybe the majority at Charlesview agree with their neighbors throughout Allston and Brighton that the plan should be significantly improved.

Charlesview DPIR Comments


  1. There's always a challenge in figuring out where people lie by merely counting people who submit comments to something like this.

    There is a significant economic disparity between the Charlesview residents and their neighbors in North Allston-Brighton, which can also be reflected in a difficulty in organizing a grass-roots letter-writing campaign among the more economic disadvantaged. (As opposed to the easier astro-turf-like card-writing campaign here.)

    If the BRA would act as a dispassionate regulatory body, then they would not count letters on each side of the issue. Instead, all it should take is one well-reasoned letter to carry the day. If the BRA instead counts letters yea/nay and acts as a result of that count, then it would be a reflection politicization of the development process.

  2. You mention the few number of Charlesview residents who wrote comments compared to the number of total residents, but couldn't the same comparison be extended to the few number of Allston resident who wrote comments compared to the 21,389 people who live in 02134 according to the US Census website.

  3. Hi Nick,

    No, I don't think that comparison makes sense. We have been told that the living conditions in Charlesview are so terrible that a new Charlesview must be built immediately. We have been told that the residents of Charlesview are an amazingly close-knit community. If that is true, then I would have expected more Charlesview residents to write actual letters or sign their name on a postcard.

    What does that have to do with the fact that nobody who lives on Royal Street or Adamson Street submitted comments?