Feature by Henry Moss in Architecture Boston

Queen to Alice: “It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.” Fifty years ago, few of us expected that the hearts of American cities would start to beat again. Our down

towns had sustained a continuous decline. There was little protection for the familiar, the recognizably historic, or the texture of active streetscapes — let alone the residents of Boston’s West End. The sense of loss over the demolition of landmark structures such as Pennsylvania Station concentrated emotional reactions to broader changes in our cities and towns. A righteous oppos

ition emerged, reinforced by the unpopularity of replacement buildings and the antiurban spatial economy of our automobile culture. Few people now realize how federal incentives to modernize the appearance of main street retail frontages dramatically affected American towns under the New Deal — or how unopposed those changes were…”

And so begins a feature in the Fall 2017 issue of ArchitectureBoston magazine, written by Bruner/Cott Principal, Henry Moss, AIA. This issue’s feature section was titled, “Second Look,” and included contributors who had written about these topics in years past. Henry originally wrote about preservation in the July/August 2006 “1976” issue of ArchitectureBoston. You can read the full article online or download a PDF version of the fall 2017 feature here.