The Globe has a big piece on the history of Cambridge’s Kendall Square:

Kendall Square’s transformation from urban wasteland to futuristic high-rent district was hardly a straight line, requiring stops, starts, and nearly a half-century to complete. It included botched plans, neighborhood outrage, and some plain, old-fashioned luck.

And most people probably don’t realize it was the secondary result of a botched “urban renewal” campaign:

In the mid-’60s, with the promise of a new NASA space center locating there, Cambridge acquired and razed more than 40 acres around Kendall Square as part of an urban renewal effort.

Nearly 100 businesses were relocated at government expense, yet the project never lifted off. After the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who backed NASA’s move to Cambridge, congressional support for the project dwindled. Although NASA had constructed several buildings on the site, the project was eventually lost to Houston, in the home state of Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon B. Johnson.

Kendall Square still needs more residential units and basic convenience stores, pharmacies, Etc. But it’s definitely come a long way.

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