Metropolitan Perspective

From the Top of The Prudential Tower in Boston’s Back Bay

George Thrush teaches an introductory course to all freshmen in which he exposes them to the topographical history of the region. The role of real estate development, transportation planning, land use, and public policy join architecture in a comprehensive view of the Boston Metropolitan Region.  One clear day each fall, Thrush takes all the students to the top of the Prudential Tower in the city’s Back Bay neighborhood, to allow them to see these interdependent phenomena from a perspective of 50 floors up. The building’s SkyWalk Gallery affords a 360-degree panoramic view of the entire region.

They see and learn the role of landfill, bridges, railroads, and highways in shaping the nearly 400 year-old city we live in today. Boston is the perfect laboratory for understanding where the next opportunities for developing our older cities lie. Former rail yards, post-industrial sites, and other marginal land is the only thing left in this dense and successful metropolis. The challenge for tomorrow’s architects, landscape architects, and environmental designers is to maximize both the public and private value of such assets.