Expanding Manhattan & Boston’s Landfill History

There was an interesting piece in yesterday’s NYT outlining a proposed expansion of lower Manhattan:

LoLo, which stands for Lower Lower Manhattan, is one of the first proposals from the Center for Urban Real Estate, a new research group at Columbia University. The neighborhood would be created by connecting Lower Manhattan and Governors Island with millions of cubic yards of landfill, similar to how Battery Park City was born in the 1970s. Over 20 to 30 years, the center estimates, LoLo would create 88 million square feet of development and generate $16.7 billion in revenue for the city.

Here’s what the proposed project would look like:

On a somewhat related note, this reminded me that a while back I picked up a great book of historical Boston maps, which shows that the majority of what we now know as Boston was in fact created by landfills. Back Bay didn’t used to be a high end neighborhood. And the South Bay shopping plaza on the border of South Boston and Dorchester wasn’t always filled with concrete and chain stores. They both quite literally used to bays where ships could dock. Here are a few similar maps I found online showing the landfill sequences:

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