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The View From Lower Allston

Partially supported by a NULab Seedling Grant.

This photogrammetry project seeks to document and contextualize the street art found all over a popular footbridge in the neighborhood of Allston. The writings and visual materials found in this well-trafficked space are in frequent conversation with one another and with the residents of the neighborhood. Art on the footbridge is changing constantly and contains records of lived experiences in a neighborhood that is itself in flux, due to its transient student population, ongoing gentrification efforts spearheaded by Harvard University development efforts, the city’s own massive Allston Multimodal Project, and the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 (among other factors). The forms of expression found there vary: we see artwork, poems, anger, protest, snapshots of city life, records of voices obscured or silenced elsewhere.

The View From Lower Allston seeks to tell a hyperlocal narrative of Allston that situates this unique space within the larger spatial histories of the neighborhood and the city. It hopes to record and preserve these ephemeral perspectives to provide residents and researchers with additional context on life in the neighborhood at this particularly unprecedented moment in Boston’s history. In addition to documenting the perspectives on the bridge, the project will ask residents and community members to share their own memories and perspectives on its writings and artwork. And it will document its methods and uses of photogrammetry, favoring lower-cost tools and assessing their potential value to a wider range of public history practitioners. 

Principal Investigator
Jim McGrath, Faculty, History

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