Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Some Thoughts on Kendall Square

Kendall Square was a dilapidated location when I first went to MIT over fifty years ago. A dying location with a small bar with great free pickles. A desolated T Station and dark at night. Behind the old buildings were small strip mall like edifices housing electronics start ups. Back then the entrepreneurs actually made things that pushed society ahead, unlike many of the newer Apps companies.

MIT has finally gotten approval for a new Kendall Square.

But take a look, it will have massive glass sided buildings with acres of concrete. For those of us who understand micro environments this will create a massive heat source and will distort the environment even more than it already is.
The current buildings are a bit better because they have more balanced facades. All glass is a well know contributor at least to local warming, just look at the Gehry building in LA. It almost fries people in its grasp.

The intent of this design is to be open and invite people. The real question is how do people get there? The parking has become either extortionary, $50 per work day or more, or no-existent.  The T has some access but it too is limited. What this is creating is a dense multi usage area where it appears that no usage will be optimized.

Residential use most likely be very upper income, akin to Battery City and its environs. Buildings like this are really not appropriate for raw start ups, despite the claims of the local incubators.

Cambridge housing is already going through the roof and soon this whole section of Cambridge will be gentrified. The final step will be the removal of the asbestos infested Court House, another example of Government sophistication.

This area has consequences, it will now be interesting to see what the unintended ones are.