Monday, March 19, 2012

A new gist, and some new buildings

This blog needs a new gist.  The old one, the travel record, was then.  It had its own raison d'etre and needed nothing else.  A photograph of a chateau in France is interesting because we don't have them back home, except the imitative kind, and therefore worthy of posting.

But to bang on the daily beat and leave it sounding like something other than a drumbeat, that is another question altogether.

The month of March, of course, doesn't particularly inspire.  Its resplendent grayness is offset by the unusually warm weather that is both a cause of concern, and of some celebration.  We eco-types waiver between the very human instinct towards the sun and its warmth, and ruing this too too early harbinger of spring.  I say let's call it "man made" and proclaim that we've outperformed nature in this regard, and leave it at that.

One possible gist for this blog is "Cambridge as a hotbed of innovation", a very interesting topic on many levels.  As an urban phenomenon, it happens at so many different scales -- the street scale, the neighborhood scale, the city scale, the transportation scale, the regional scale, the national scale and the global scale.  Trying to parse through these layers is no easy matter.

Its promoters say that Cambridge is off the charts in its winnings.  A Globe story today reports that three out of top six winners at South by Southwest were Cambridge-based companies with roots at M.I.T.  This certainly goes beyond accidental good luck.

One further measure of Cambridge's success is the amount of construction going on in the city, and not just in eastern Cambridge.  The other day, while riding my bike down Binney Street towards the Apple Store at Cambridgeside Galleria to look at the latest MacBook Pro, I realized just how many parking lots there are.  Parking lots are like banked gold to a large scale developer in a hot market, and this is a hot market.  So I started to look around, and I decided that I would snap a couple of photos of some of the new buildings going up around town.  Here's just the start of what I see:

Destruction before construction.  Windsor Street near Mass. Ave. (photo from November 2011)

Bent Street (photo taken from First Street)