Friday, February 22, 2013

Literal NIMBY

Down the street from where I live in Cambridgeport, there is a church which has closed and is slated to be redeveloped. (This is not without precedent, there is a church a couple of blocks away which was also turned in to apartments.) In a neighborhood with some of the highest rents in the city and a very tight market, more supply will serve to both stabilize prices and to add tax base from a previously un-taxed parcel.

Of course, there are people who are against development. People in Central Square push parking lots over density, and claim more housing will turn the area in to an uninhabitable hellscape. That's silly, but that's up the street. There's an organization which wants to "save" 56 Magazine by—well, by keeping it a mostly unused, run-down church building. They claim that Cambridge needs more communal space. This might be true, but they want to subvert the free market to keep a religious institution, well, something. Even as the demographics of the city have changed and there are many fewer church-goers to fill these spaces. And even though there's a perfectly good park not a block away. Oh, yeah, it's in a perfectly walkable neighborhood, one of twelve examples profiled by Julie Campoli in her book Made for Walking.

So who are these 56 Magazine people? Well, I'm not completely sure, but their address is interesting. It's 60 Magazine. And for the record, there is no 58 Magazine. So, quite literally, these are NIMBYs. Or, maybe NIMSYs—not in my side yard. I took a picture:

So the people who live in the house to the right don't want construction and activity in the building to the left. So they are trying to create a non-profit advocacy group about it. At least they're transparent about it—or at least their address.

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