Reinventing the Boston Row House: Accommodating Contemporary Housing Need

Abstract

Reinventing the Boston Row House: Accommodating Contemporary Housing Need æThe row house has long been identified with Boston living, but it is routinely realized in a repetitive, inefficient, and homogenous manner that only appeals to a narrow set of consumers. This limitation leaves the city struggling to retain many of the students that it educates, and also to accommodate the needs of an aging baby-boomer generation, as well as those of new families. Changes in regional demographics and economics have resulted in a desperate need for a more diverse range of multi-family housing options to serve these markets. In this project, I envision a new variety of multi-family housing that appeals to a wider range of lifestyles, while remaining faithful to the better aspects of the cityÍs traditional row house. æI suggest that more dynamic housing options can be achieved by liberating the row houseÍs planimetric and sectional relationships from traditional restrictions, without sacrificing traditional efficiency in urban planning. The new paradigm both respects the historical character of urban Boston and supplies the efficient, diverse multi-family housing essential to the needs of young professionals, families, and seniors alike. æThis innovative model was tested in the rapidly developing Dudley Square region of Lower Roxbury, where potential gentrification threatens the areaÍs capacity to provide a variety of residential opportunities. Full use of the prototype in locations such as this would serve to counteract the restrictive housing consequences of gentrification.