The Southwest Corridor is a narrow strip of land running five miles from the South End of Boston through Roxbury and ending in Jamaica Plain. Twenty years ago, neighborhoods through which the Corridor passes experienced tremendous upheaval as space was cleared for the proposed construction of Interstate 95. The communities were able to stop the highway project, but not without a long and difficult struggle and the eventual support of then Governor Francis Sargent. Today, the Southwest Corridor Project involves a new MBTA Orange Line relocated along the Corridor, with nine new stations at a total cost of approximately $750 million. The relocated transportation route, which opened recently, is the first stage of an anticipated economic revitalization of the area. Because of the relocation, the land use patterns in the neighborhoods adjacent to the Corridor are expected to be altered significantly as new economic development opportunities are created.

One of the most important development opportunities is located in Parcel 18, the anchor parcel of the Southwest Corridor Project, located in Roxbury adjacent to the Ruggles Station. Within a few years, up to a million square feet of office and retail space and other complementary land uses will be developed, and several thousand permanent jobs are expected to be generated. A large number of construction jobs will be available even sooner. This article examines the extent to which development of Parcel 18 will benefit the neighborhoods surrounding the parcel. First, we present a brief history and overview of the Southwest Corridor Project with an emphasis on the history of community involvement. Second, we describe recent efforts to increase the likelihood that community residents will benefit from the economic development of Parcel 18. Third, we present the case for a focused economic development effort that emphasizes benefits to the South End and Roxbury neighborhoods surrounding the Parcel 18 area. Our argument is supported by an analysis of 1980 census data and 1985 labor force, earnings, and income data from a Boston Redevelopment Authority household survey. Finally, we examine the policy implications of our findings.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.