Blog Archives

Downtown View: The Calm Month

January 22, 2015
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Lots of people complain about January. It is dark. It is cold. It’s a day longer than some months. The hoopla about the holidays is over. Thank goodness. That is the beauty of January. It is not like autumn, the season in which everyone and every organization are trying to crowd in every event...

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Downtown View: The More Things Change

January 14, 2015
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At Faneuil Hall Marketplace, an out-of-town manager doesn’t understand how to run a Boston business. Local businesses are  ousted to make room for chains. The manager believes the pushcart vendors, with their dubious tchotchkes, bring down the tone of the place. The vendors, however, accuse the manager of shutting them out of decision making...

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Downtown View: Disruption or Consequences?

January 8, 2015
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Disruption was 2014’s trendy cliché. A new idea comes along and, poof, out with the old. Business school types are enthralled. New technology and new ideas are part of the disruption. But some businesses and industries are vulnerable, sometimes because they haven’t taken certain developments into account. Take coal. It is hard to listen...

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Looking Back at the People and Events that made 2014

December 31, 2014
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Most readers probably think 2014 has been a year of bad news and more bad news. I won’t bore you with the details. You know what they are. But there have been a few bright spots for Bostonians that should help 2015 be more satisfying. Cleaner streets are the best news. This has been...

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Children’s Books About Careers

December 23, 2014
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When our children were young, they asked what their father, a lawyer, did at work. I told them, “He gives advice to people.” But that was hardly an adequate explanation. They eventually learned what lawyers do through family discussions, visits to his office, and their expanding notions of the world as they grew older....

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Don’t do Stupid Stuff

December 23, 2014
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Hillary Clinton distanced herself from President Obama’s cautionary guide to international relations. But I thought his motto was good advice for most matters. Not that I’ve always avoided doing stupid stuff, and you can probably think of a few times you’ve not followed that advice either. When individuals do stupid stuff, it’s usually a...

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Downtown View Interesting Passageways are Returning

December 4, 2014
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In 2010 in this column, I urged developers to create permeability at the ground level of big buildings. I especially wanted them to replicate the historic little lanes of downtown Boston—Spring Lane, Pi Alley, Winthrop Lane—or to create Boston versions of the Burlington or Prince’s Arcade in London and Paris’s passage couverts. These covered...

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Extreme Books

November 27, 2014
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You have heard people say books are going away, that we’ll all be reading on Kindles, etc. for the foreseeable future. The more extreme prognosticators declare that whole libraries are in demise, and with the cloud, their books are destined for landfill. (They obviously haven’t read the statistics on the increased use of libraries,...

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Downtown View Shade or Shadow?

November 19, 2014
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When I was 19 years old, I went to Wall Street. It was narrow, dark, secretive—worthy of the cash that I imagined rested behind those vault-like façades. It was my first encounter with shadows bestowing a sense of place, in this case a sense of importance. Shadows affect people in other ways. They hint...

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Downtown View Engineering Happiness

November 18, 2014
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I recently met a happy man.                 Why shouldn’t he be happy? He has what most men want: loving parents, a wife, Jana, who was his high school sweetheart, two cute little boys, a house, good friends, family members who live nearby, good training and a good job. He also possesses a fine sense...

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