By Josh Resnek
Modern Everett is morphing into an unrecognizable new shape and size, with grand, modern, architecturally designed apartment developments everywhere and dozens of multi-unit rehabs and new construction projects.
New neighborhoods or the creation of new mini neighborhoods where neighborhoods have never existed and with old neighborhoods made to look new, modern and designed.
Last week, the Leader Herald pointed to the giant new apartment developments on the Parkway as having the look and feel of monoliths – giant structures unsupported by smaller commercial interests catering to the lives of thousands of new Everett residents.
In almost every instance where they are built or being built today, the developers have taken highly polluted land both an eye sore and a health hazard, and turned it into a better class of housing attracting higher income types of residents, most of whom are working Boston.
What are these new residents to do in their apartment communities on the Parkway when they are all revved up with nowhere to go?
Many of the millennials populating these new developments order in their food with Uber eats, get home deliveries for their weekly shopping, keep their blinds drawn and never look outside.
It is a good thing they don’t. Why?
There’s not much to look at except for the endless flow of passing traffic.
In communities like Somerville, Cambridge, Brookline and Newton new developments are not allowed unless what is being developed gives rise to a larger success all around it.
In these communities mentioned above, and in so many others where the leadership has a design sense, attention is given to only those developments that offer add ons – new sidewalks and lighting, new plantings of trees and shrubbery, artfully designed facades and signage for existing corner stores and other nearby businesses.
New businesses to anchor a broader future and on and on are what is needed.
Everett is not lacking in developments.
It is lacking in neighborhood creation and retention.
The above photograph of the corner store on Elm Street reveals how bare and empty this corner of the city is made to appear. Without a foundational remake, this corner appears grim and lifeless, when in fact, it is a busy store on a busy corner in a major neighborhood.
Making such changes is eas- ier said than done. It takes a great deal of private money and a commitment from the business owners.
Starker yet is the modern visage of the massive luxury apartment housing on the Parkway with no stores of any kind set inside these apartment canyons and squares.
Again, a wider, broader, bolder vision is needed that supercedes the current vision.
Apartments need to be more than a barracks for the generational types coming to Everett.