We asked, you barked
BY DIG READERS
Last month, we asked Dig readers—you—to share complaints about a slice or corner of the region that is in need of significant repair. It could be general, like something about a lack of computers in schools, or it could be more specific, like your feelings about a particular intersection, or the stench of natural gas on your corner.
We were happy to receive several dozen responses—many of which echoed each other, one of which was a poem, and some of which hit on subjects that we don’t think or write about enough around here. This wasn’t just some silly exercise; we will be using these answers, along with other input, to help guide our news and arts coverage moving forward.
For now, here are some standout responses, edited for clarity and space but not for politeness, since that would be no fun.
Ah, I have an urge!
But—alas!—in Boston, where
can I take a piss?
A School Committee accountable to just one person: the mayor. And he’s not really accountable for the schools because mayoral races are about many other issues more than about schools.
A month ago, I came back to visit friends in Somerville who I never wanted to move away from in the first place. I stayed in an AirBnB in the building that I used to live in. On the last day, I looked at the list of tenants by the buzzers to see if any of my old neighbors might be around. I moved out less than one year ago, and they’re already all gone. Every one of them.
You would think that I would have a much better and longer answer to give you, since I spend half of my day stuck on the T, but I sadly have to spend all of that time applying for gigs since my landlord keeps raising the rent on the Brighton dump that I live in.
An ever increasing cost of living; disparities, systemic racism, and old patronage remain.
Too many Paneras.
I’m sure a lot of people said this, but glass buildings are what’s wrong with Boston. Who the fuck designed this place? Narcissus?
The slot machines at Encore Boston Harbor stole my money.
The street lights aren’t timed. What’s up with that? I have lived in cities where they are timed, like New York, and it really makes a difference.
The art scene remains classist and hard for lower-income people and people of color to enter. Only a lucky few get opportunities to showcase their work. The high cost of operating a gallery or event space also prevents those that want to give artists a space to showcase their work impossible. I dream of one day opening a space like that in my neighborhood of Allston but with the rampant development here, it feels impossible.
Even as Boston has been a prime beneficiary of financial industry largess (free money for rich people), like New York, DC, SF, etc., unlike those other cities, Boston’s creative culture doesn’t seem to have scaled with the city’s fortune (few new small bars, small music venues, etc.).
The cost of living (the rent is too damn high!), the transit is crumbling, and artists (myself included) have been driven out for more hospitable cities (like Providence, where I live).
Unbridled new residential expansion with what seems to be no planning to help Boston keep its artists, working-class citizens, and others who make this an amazing place.
There are too many people in Boston who have given up on life.
Liquor licensing laws, cost of living
Too expensive—not just expensive but value-wise, totally inflated, also racist, provincial, cliquey, and the T sucks ass.
Boston will sell anything out to make room for big corporate money and the transient wealthy.
-Dana Jay Bein
The number of properties bought solely for investment is a huge drag on the city and the region. This has been well documented by the Boston Globe and others. We have people who should be able to stay here and can’t while new apartments are being built that are sitting empty. I’m sure there are conservative economists who think that is a great thing, but it doesn’t make much sense to me, and instead sounds like a dystopian hellscape out of some of my favorite graphic novels. I never thought that I would get to see them unfold in person though.
It has become strictly a playground for the rich, leaving affordable housing and robust public transit both pipedreams.
Boston has become a city of almost no original live music clubs, and has a public that enjoys consuming national entertainment products more than cultivating a regional art and culture. This is fitting with the explosion of dull and expensive condos everywhere pushing working people and artists out and building franchises and luxury experiences for the upwardly mobile. Look at Northern California, that’s where we are headed.
The combination of horrible public transportation and horrible infrastructure for vehicles basically means there are no easy options to get in/out of the city.
We talk a lot, but do not have more action.
Marginalized communities can’t afford to live here.
Casual racism and gentrification.
The culture of never talking to each other and operating in our own separate silos.
Many privileged people who only stay for four years or less who make Boston worse for its lifelong residents (gentrification/high rent prices, lack of investment in lifelong residents, and corruption of character).
Madison Park should be one of the great schools not just in Boston but anywhere in the country. We should be the model of all trade schools everywhere. Our mayor even comes from the trades. Why is it so neglected? It’s hard to understand.
-Anonymous BPS teacher
Housing costs [are] pushing out everyone but the wealthy.
The inability of our political leaders to keep the developers in check and make more space for real people.