We had our 3rd and final group interview with 15 excellent ONEin3ers this morning, all vying to be part of the ONEin3 Boston Mayor’s Advisory Council. It seems like every year at least one of the interview groups is significantly weaker than the other two, but not so this year. All three sessions were really solid, with interesting and thoughtful conversation about Boston.
Each of these interviews serves two important functions. Of course, they help us to select the Council, but they also function as echoes of the 19 focus groups that were the official beginning of the ONEin3 Boston initiative. Our selection committee loves doing these interviews because they help us keep our focus on the most important issues that face young people in Boston.
The format of these conversations is pretty basic. We sit in one big group around a table and ask each participant to introduce him or herself. Each participants tell the group one thing that he or she likes about Boston and one thing that could be improved. Once we have all those goods and bads on the table, we move into an open discussion of a couple issues that emerge in their introductory comments.
(Read on for more on what we discussed and please head to the comments to tell us what you think!)
No matter what neighborhood in Boston you reside in a betting man would say you are locked into at least a year long lease. The average student is going to remain in Boston for roughly nine months and leave one of those months for winter break, thus only living in their own apartment for two thirds of the lease. Every year you see units available on CraigsList, Facebook, blogs, and school boards from students who are not living in their apartments for the summer. This mass subletting every summer conducted by students, some 18 years old, is one highlighted by disorganization, stress and a low success rate.
Why does Boston not consider flexible housing options or other alternatives to the conventional one year lease? With mounting pressure on higher educational institutions to provide housing for their students rather than have them look for apartments, it seems interesting that these institutions have not considered alternatives other than build more dormitories. Better yet, why has a private investor/developer/entrepreneur not capitalized on this problem that effects all parties from students, to schools, to neighborhoods and their residents, to the city as a whole?
Privatized communal housing with security and the whole nine is one alternative. Similar to dormitories, however offered to students at an affordable rate. Rethinking the traditional lease is another option, where landlords specifically target students with leases that last from September to May of every year nullifying any subletting issues that may arise. The landlord would then be able to rent the remaining three months for an inflated rate. Boston can also look at international best practices and find what has worked best and what would fit our market and tweak it to best work for our particular housing environment.
What would you like to see happen surrounding the living situations provided for Boston students? What do you think would be most effective, cost-efficient, and enjoyable? Is the current system and model of housing for young people sufficient? In an ideal world what would you like to see, whether it be high-rises, mini communities of students, or all student housing pushed to greater Boston?
ONEin3ers…we know you celebrated 4th of July in style. So many options around, including the HUGE fireworks/Pops/Toby Keith extravaganza on the Esplanade and river, beach trips on the Cape, North Shore, lakes etc, and many more.
Tell us what you did to celebrate America’s independence!
The ONEin3 team ventured outside city limits (THE HORROR) to Phoenix Landing to take in the soccer loving scene for USA v. Algeria this week.
I’ve been to bars for lots of sporting events and I’ve seen lots of soccer games on television, but I’ve never been to a bar for a big soccer game. I’ll be doing it again. The American Outlaws brought all kinds of people out to support the good ole US of A and there was chanting, cheering and Guinness drinking starting at 830am. Aside from interviewing people who were just as nervous as I was, I stressed out with the support of my fellow fans for 2 straight hours of no-goal yet electric soccer. The US came so so close to scoring, most notably when Dempsey hit the post and when Dempsey ACTUALLY SCORED and had the goal called back. I guess that’s karmic payback for Mr. Robert Green’s miscue in game 1 v. England. Anyway, all that stressing and hoping and disappointment was paid back in spades when the place erupted for Donovan’s game winner. It was truly crazy. I’ve seen YouTube clips from all over the country, including Lincoln, Nebraska, the home of the American Outlaws. I can tell you that Phoenix Landing was as crazy, if not crazier than ANY of those places. It was nuts.
NIJU Relives the experience
I couldn’t sleep the previous night. I hate that the world cup does this to me- every four years. I am anxious, nervous and if it is not football related I do not DO NOT want to hear it. I reached Phoenix landing a little late and was disappointed that Devin did not bring my Vuvuzela. The previous night my dad had warned me not to jinx the English team by watching them play. It was hard to see anything since I was one of the smallest person there. We had a couple of British people on the side and it was amazing to see as people of different nationalities braced to see their nations play. There I was with my confused identity hoping that both England and USA made it through. At half time Devin was pretty much like this
I should stress here that I had more faith in the Americans so I wasn’t as stressed as Devin was during half time. I switched to the england side of the pub simply because I couldn’t imagine this team loosing.I mean how could they? i have seen them long enough to know if there is one thing this team knows its is HUSTLE, HUSTLE and HUSTLE. In the 90th second I saw what had happened and went into the background so that nobody saw me cry. There it was one minute after the moment that both the Americans and British rejoiced with their hands in the air and dancing in the streets.
THe video from Phoenix Landing Boston of the 91st minute
I recently read an article on Boston.com (an underrated website, if you can believe it) about the roof decks in Boston. I thoroughly enjoyed the article and it brought up one glaring point, Summer Is Hot. Where do summer students go for a bite to eat slash cocktail mid-day or on a hot summer night? The options in the article were eclectic and had a little something for everyone. But honestly, will these eight venues really tide us over for the entirety of the hot summer?
We all have a friend with a roof deck who is extra popular during the months from May to September. To have roof deck access is similar to holding a key to a personal sunshine getaway for all friends and family from the heat of the summertime cement jungle. I was blessed once many moons ago with such amenities… however, I have since resorted to begging friends and foes alike for the privilege. What options do students have in the city on hot summer days? Roof deck pools!
Roof deck pools are very hard to come by not matter what city you are in. Did you know that Boston has two? Both are detailed on Boston.com. Boston also has public watertainment options, the Department of Conservation and Recreation offers an in ground pool for people in the North End. The new Greenway, where the elevated I-93 was, has been transformed into green space snaking through Boston spotted with fountains and places to play in the water. People, get out of the heat and take a dip for gosh sakes! And after get a bite to eat outside!
Al Fresco is where Boston shines. With numerous quality restaurants sprinkled all over the good city of Boston, a greater amount of restaurants each year are adding this feature to their repertoire, and it makes me smile. Boston is a great city for food and drinks no matter what price point you’re playing in. Fiore (roof deck), Bouchee (below ground level), and Church (patio) all offer their own take on outside dinning. Now that summer has come upon us and given the population a collective kiss of color on our faces, why not do a little bronzing while having some food?
Are you happy with Boston’s roof deck, pool, and al fresco scene? Do we need a greater range of options or are we being greedy and creating first world problems for ourselves? What are your opinions of the venues we have? Please share your hidden gems or favorite can’t miss places for Summer 2010…