Not in my Back Bay

Perhaps one of the most twisted cases of NIMBYism — for Not in My Back Yard — unfolded in the Back Bay yesterday as the American Planning Association crowned one of Boston’s jewels among the 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2010.

Despite being pleased with the overall recognition, the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay laments the fact that developments such as the Prudential Center and Copley Mall are included in the APA honor.

NABB argues that the Pru and Copley Mall don’t exemplify good planning on the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s part.  

But Meg Mainzer-Cohen of the business group the Back Bay Association disagrees.

“I really feel like they are shortsighted,” she said. “For an award like that, you have to look at the big picture, and all of many generations of people who participated in the generation of a neighborhood like this.”

NABB Chair Jim Hill said those accusations are unfair because they work to preserve the historic character that brings Back Bay so much fame.

“The reason there’s no large office buildings in the historic district is because they don’t belong,” Hill said.  

The BRA’s Randi Lathrop said the award was partially given for the fact that residents are so engaged in community affairs.  

“We are engaged and we should be even more engaged,” Hill said. “Many things appear precooked before the public process begins and I stress the word ‘appear.’ There is a great deal going on in the BRA that is not open to the public. That concerns us.” 


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