Planners say the shuttered naval base could be "the future of Massachusetts development -- a vibrant, updated version of an old classic, the New England town center," the Boston Globe observes. "Within a dozen years, this spot will be transformed into a neighborhood for roughly 7,000 residents who can work at a nearby office campus, eat lunch at cafes, do their shopping along Main Street, exercise at playing fields, and never need to drive."
That's the idea of smart growth - create neighborhoods where it's possible to survive without a car. Many Americans outside of New York City - the only major U.S. urban area where more than half of residents take public transit to work - don't understand what non-car-dependent urban development patterns look like. It was interesting to hear my New York cousin's comments over Labor Day weekend when we visited the beautifully restored Charlestown neighborhood around the naval yard there. He looked around and quickly saw that there were no neighborhood stores within easy walking distance. Most suburbanites wouldn't have noticed.
But getting back to South Weymouth:
"The 'Village Center' development will be easy to navigate -- everything will be about a 5-minute walk from the commuter rail station -- and officials hope it will provide a model for the redevelopment of other military bases as New England faces another round of closures," according to the Globe. Officials in Abington, Rockland, and Weymouth "all embraced the plan this summer," the paper adds.
Drawings of the development were in the paper version of the Globe, but not on Boston.com. You can see some initial drawings from the Sept. 24, 2004 Patriot-Ledger, when the base plan was first announced.
It looks very promising; my only initial complaint is that it appears somewhat isolated from surrounding communities.