Living for the City

The appeal of urban life in a modern context continues to grow stronger by the day. With its concentration of jobs, abundance of activities and events, availability of public transportation, and proximity to stores and shops, it is easy to see why an increasingly large demographic (historically comprising young professionals, now encompassing all age groups) is choosing the bustle of the city over the tranquility of the suburbs. To keep up with this trend, developers are building vibrant, mixed-use developments that focus on prime urban locations for new construction, as well as capitalizing on the creative reuse of existing buildings.

Trendy mixed-use developments, like Ink Block in Boston’s South End, which is adjacent to the busy Southeast Expressway, have highlighted the fact that any area can be “up and coming,” if the right amenities and conveniences are planned into the project. This is driving more developers to think about how to provide not just places to work or live, but to help build an entire work-live-play experience.

Symphony Court 41 Westland Avenue

An All-in-One Experience

Large-scale residential developments, like Zinc Apartments in Cambridge, are benefiting greatly by offering their residents unique amenities that make living there the most convenient and attractive solution. Zinc, as an example, boasts a fitness center, clubroom, boardroom, outdoor terrace—even a pet spa!

Keep reading to learn more about Zinc.

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Location is everything in real estate, and some locations prove to be more challenging to develop than others. The open lot at 44 Burbank Street in Boston was just such a location. Projects of this nature are very much driven by their context, and provide designers the chance to creatively weave the massing and materials of the building into the existing urban fabric.


These types of developments also have the potential to visually transform neighborhoods, and though the challenges of building in dense urban locations are oftentimes myriad—obtaining proper city approvals, etc.—the benefits can be great for developers and communities alike.


Repurposing existing unused or underutilized facilities is another option that developers have been exploring to cater to those seeking a more urban lifestyle. Symphony Court, in Boston’s Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood, is a dramatic example: The existing structure was a 6-story parking garage, built in 1918. Its conversion into elegant condominiums was transformative, not just for the building, but also for the neighborhood. Adaptive reuse of existing buildings has the added benefit of being a sustainable method of development, which is especially important in an aging and evolving city like Boston.

Each new development presents its own story and context, challenges and opportunities. Through a combination of both grand and subtle gestures, exciting new places and, in some cases, communities are taking shape, and with them, the idea of the modern city is being reimagined.