Using interviews with many of those activists, contemporary news accounts, and historical sources, Jim Vrabel describes the demonstrations, sit-ins, picket lines, boycotts, and contentious negotiations through which residents exerted their influence on the city that was being rebuilt around them including case histories of the fights against urban renewal, highway construction, and airport expansion; for civil rights, school desegregation, and welfare reform; and over Vietnam and busing.
Concrete Changes: architecture, politics, and the design of Boston City Hall by Brian M. SirmanFrom the 1950s to the end of the twentieth century, Boston transformed from a city in freefall into a thriving metropolis, as modern glass skyscrapers sprouted up in the midst of iconic brick rowhouses. After decades of corruption and graft, a new generation of politicians swept into office, seeking to revitalize Boston through large-scale urban renewal projects. The most important of these was a new city hall, which they hoped would project a bold vision of civic participation. The massive Brutalist building that was unveiled in 1962 stands apart -- emblematic of the city's rebirth through avant-garde design. And yet Boston City Hall frequently ranks among the country's ugliest buildings. Concrete Changes seeks to answer a common question for contemporary viewers: How did this happen? In a lively narrative filled with big personalities and newspaper accounts, Brian M. Sirman argues that this structure is more than a symbol of Boston's modernization; it acted as a catalyst for political, social, and economic change.