Building Boom in Boston

Boston is riding the crest of what city officials say is the biggest building boom in its history, with cranes lifting glassy towers into place and raising the city’s unassuming profile. The surge of construction is also plunging some of its most cherished sites into deepening shadow, testing state laws that have long balanced economic development with protection of sunlight and open space. The concern is not merely about preserving a glimpse of sky in the increasingly vertical downtown or about the risks of darkness to plants, historic buildings and even humans. It is also about whether the city is going down a road of no return by trading away, one piece at a time, its intangible assets, like sunlight on its signature parks and public access to its gleaming waterfront.