Sunday, January 22, 2017


Community Control of Public Land

by Chinatown Community Land Trust


Parcel 12 by the Double Tree Hotel and Parcel R1 on Tyler Street

    The character of Chinatown has shifted since 2000, when the fast-tracked approval of the Millennium/Ritz Carlton launched a rapid succession of luxury towers in and around the neighborhood. Since then, Chinatown's housing stock has doubled, primarily due to the addition of two thousand luxury high-rise units. Luxury development spurred a sharp increase in real estate values, bringing rising rents, land speculation, and a wave of evictions from the privately owned brick row houses.

Keeping Chinatown Chinatown
    Today, Chinatown balances at the tipping point, with the growing number of luxury units threatening to dominate the character of this historic neighborhood, home to so many generations of working class immigrants.  In order to stabilize and preserve Chinatown's working class and small business core, the Chinatown Master Plan Committee proposed several important strategies and goals.

The first goal is to preserve the neighborhood's existing affordable housing. Second is to seek opportunities to turn privately owned buildings into nonprofit community-owned housing for permanent affordability.  But preservation alone cannot keep pace with the influx of luxury housing, so the third goal is to add 1,000 new units of affordable low and moderate income housing from 2015 to 2025. Greater resident control of development is also critical if future development is to support community goals and priorities.

While we celebrate improvements like the Chinatown and Mary Soo Hoo Parks and welcome new neighbors, we need to use every tool at our disposal to keep the feel and character of Chinatown from slipping away—until we no longer feel at home in our historic community.
Public Land for the Public Good
    Chinatown's remaining public parcels are the key to the community's future.  We can reach our community stabilization goals by maximizing affordable housing and providing for important needs like a library and recreational open space. Because public land should belong to the people, public and community needs should be the top priority.
    Public land in the neighborhood includes the state-owned Parcels 25, 26 and 27 that lie between Chinatown, the Leather District and the South End.  There are also City-owned Parcels R1, 12, A, and the China Trade Center building.  Parcel 7A at the corner of Stuart and Tremont has already been designated for a micro-hotel, and a narrow city-owned parcel on Shawmut Avenue across from Castle Square will become green space for the housing development in progress at the Holy Trinity Church site. We must continue to demand that public land should be used for the public good.  

Community Ownership of Land
    One of the best ways to ensure strong community control is through nonprofit community ownership of land.
This was the purpose of founding the Chinatown Community Land Trust—to have a mechanism through which community residents can exert greater control over development and the forces of gentrification.  By owning land and leasing it to the homeowner or developer, the Community Land Trust is able to embed the collectively decided uses for the land into the deed and ground lease agreement. The Community Land Trust is not the developer and does not earn the developer fee; instead it becomes the steward of the land to ensure that it is always used for its intended purpose.

    Why would we want a public parcel to be transferred to community ownership?  Let's take Parcel R1 (former site of the YMCA "Bubble") as an example. This parcel was zoned for residential housing back in the 1960s, but the option to develop the site was later conferred upon Tufts University through a complicated land swap.  With no plans to develop, Tufts Shared Services has leased the parcel for use as a parking lot for many years.  That lease will expire in 2017.  

Time to Reclaim Parcels 12 and R1
It is time for the Chinatown community to reclaim Parcel R1 for community purposes. The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), now renamed the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), is reluctant to turn Parcel R1 over to the community because of its commitment to Tufts Medical Center as an important economic force in the city.
However, at a Town Meeting held at the Quincy School on September 14, the BRA committed to releasing a Request for Proposals to develop Parcel 12 behind the Double Tree Hotel. A public meeting to discuss Parcel 12 will be held on Thursday, January 19th, 6:30 pm at the Quincy School cafeteria.

Both of these public parcels, as well as two other major lots across the Mass Pike, are currently used by Tufts Shared Services for parking. While Tufts Medical Center has legitimate parking needs, these needs can be consolidated into a multi-story parking garage to free up public land for community development.  
For example, Parcel R1 could become a site for affordable housing with a ground-floor library, while Parcel 12 could incorporate both affordable housing and hospital parking uses. If  these public parcels owned by the community, the significant parking revenues now profiting Tufts Shared Services could be used to create a housing subsidy fund that could keep low income Chinatown tenants in their homes.
This is just one example of the role that community ownership of land can play.  It will be important to gather public input and to consider different scenarios for both Parcels 12 and R1.  But the principle of collective community ownership is one that can put greater control into community residents' hands.
If you are interested in the goal of collective community ownership and would like to participate in community meetings to discuss our vision for the public parcels, please contact the Chinatown Community Land Trust at 617-259-1503 or by email at ChinatownCLT@gmail.com, or come to our Annual Meeting on January 24.

Boston Planning & Development Agency
Thursday, January 19th, 6:30-8:30 pm
Quincy School Cafeteria

Chinatown Community Land Trust
Tuesday, January 24th, 6:30-8:30 pm
Quincy School Cafeteria


當千禧/麗思卡爾頓發展的申請得到火速的批准後,它在附近和周圍建起了一連串的豪華大廈住宅。自此,唐人街的面貌也從2000年開始變化起來。從那時起,唐人街的住房數字增加了一倍,主要是由於增加了兩千個豪華單位建築。 豪華發展促使房地產價值大幅增長,帶來租金上漲,土地投機和私人排屋住戶被房東逼遷的境況。






這是建立唐人街社區土地信託的目的, 社區居民可以通過這種機制從而更好地控制發展和高檔化的力量。通過擁有土地並將其租給房主或開發商,社區土地信託能夠將集體決定的土地用途嵌入契約和地租賃協議。社區土地信託不是開發商,不收取開發商費,而是成為土地的管家,以確保土地用於其預期目的。 

為什麼我們要將公共地段轉讓給社區擁有權?讓我們以 R1地段(YMCA'Bubble'的前身)為例。這個地段在20世紀60年代被劃為住宅,但是開發這個地塊的選擇,後來經過複雜的土地交換而授予了塔芙大學。由於沒有計劃發展,塔芙共享服務將地段租賃用作停車場。該租賃將於2017年到期。

相反地,波士頓規劃和發展署在914日在昆士學校舉行的社區會議上,BPDA承諾會發佈一份徵求建議書,計劃開發在雙樹酒店後面的12地段。 一個公共會議將在2017119日,下午六時三十分在昆士學校飯堂舉行。
這兩塊公地以及麻省公路的另外兩塊主要用地,目前都被塔芙共享服務(Tufts Shared Services)用作停車用途。雖然塔芙醫療中心有合理的停車需求,但這些需求可以合併成一個多層停車庫,可以納入12地段的住宅/綜合開發項目,釋放R1地段作社區發展。
例如,R1地段可以成為可負擔房屋,及在地下一層設一個圖書館。如果土地是由社區擁有,在 R1地段和 12地段,現在利用塔芙共享服務的大量停車收入可用於創建一個住房補貼基金,可以保持低收入唐人街租戶在自己的家園。 

時間:2017124日,晚上6:30  8:30

時間:2017119日,晚上6:30  8:30

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