Selected Papers

Industry and Infrastructure at Jeffries Point

Throughout history, Jeffries Point has been the site of Boston’s connection to the region and the world. First in the 19th Century, with the shipping industry and the railroad, and later in the 20th Century, with the air travel, the infrastructural and industrial projects required to achieve the regional and global aspirations of the city have been at odds with the largely residential community of Jeffries Point. This paper provides an overview of the 19th and 20th Century infrastructural projects in Jeffries Point, and highlights the changes they brought to the residential community. In this light, new private real estate development trends, and the future of the neighborhood, can be better understood. The questions then become: how will the new development be affected by the enduring infrastructures and Boston’s global connections? And does the specific context of Jeffries Point produce a new alliance between existing communities and real estate developers against a common antagonist? The forces of infrastructure will no doubt continue to act upon Jeffries Point, but will be eclipsed by the effects of a changing climate.

Rewilding and Imaginaries of Resilience at Hunters Point

In this paper, I interrogate the use of rewilding techniques to build resilient urban landscapes. Using William Cronon’s notion of the false duality between nature and civilization, I specifically look at Hunters Point South Park, in Queens, New York. The designers position the park’s main landscape feature—a salt marsh—as both a way to make the site resilient to floods and storm surges and as a celebration of the site’s natural history. I ask, using Cronon’s framework as a guide, what story do we tell when we use the image of the natural past as a resilience solution? I suggest that aesthetic rewilding projects remove the human elements of the past and future. If we are to build resilience that is hollistic, democratic, and just, we should deploy numerous resilience strategies, that celebrate not only natural pasts but also human ones.