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Boston is the largest and the capital city of the commonwealth of Massachusetts in the U.S. it also served as the momentous county headquarters of Suffolk county till 1999 when Massachusetts disbanded the county government. Boston covers 48 square miles with an approximate population of 655,884 people in 2014, being the leading capital of England and the 24th biggest city in the U.S. As one of the leading cities in America, it was founded in 1630 by Puritans from England. It acted as the scene of numerous American Revolution, like the Boston massacre. After America gained their independence from the Great Britain, Boston continued to be a significant seaport and industrialized center, a tourism destination, and an educational and cultural center (Allison, 2). Although Boston city has been in existence for centuries, little has been appreciated about its history and its urban experience. The indulgence of this paper will be focused on politics, history and population, and its position in the global political economy. Although Boston city has administrative, high living cost, among other challenges, the city is a vibrant first class economy, with rich history and culture, a strong business hub and cosmopolitan and multiracial strata there by having a strong socio-political standing in the U.S governance and economy(thesis statement)
Boston and its History
The earliest Boston
The earliest city emerged from war against British colonialism by the patriot citizen, in a battle that was named ‘The Boston siege’(Allison pg 4). Together with New York, Boston grew as a strong financial hub, and became a major financier of railroads nationwide in the 19 century (Allison, pg33). Its economic vibrancy reached the peak in 1950 followed by decline occasioned by closure of textile firms and other factories. It recovered by the start of 21 century, with its development pillared on education, medicine, ICT and biotechnology (Lewis pg 5).
In the coming centuries, manufacturing became a significant constituent of the city’s economy, such that by the middle of the 19th century, the industrial manufacturing of Boston outdid international commerce in economic significance. Up to the early 20th century, the city remained one of the Americas largest manufacturing hubs and was recognized for apparel and leather-products manufacturing. An assortment of small rivers surrounding Boston and linking it to the neighboring regions made possible for the movement of goods and resulted in an explosion of industries and factories.(Sassen 12) Later, a thick system of railroads supplemented the industry and commerce of the region. During this era, Boston prospered culturally too, fashionable for its profound legendary life and charitable, artistic benefaction, with households of old Boston families-ultimately crowned as the elites of the nation, socially and culturally. The city also transformed into a heart of the abolitionist pressure groups, reacting stoutly to the Slave Law of 1850.
In the 1820s, the population of Boston grew explosively, and its ethnic makeup changed considerably with the first surge of immigrants from Europe. The immigrants from the Irish origin dominated the initial group of newcomers in this era. In the late 19th century, Boston received increased numbers of immigrants from Ireland, Germany, Lebanon, Syria, France, Canada, and Russia who settled in the city. Towards the end of the 19th century, the main outskirts of Boston had become closed societies of racially different immigrants. Italian and Irish immigrants introduced Roman Catholicism in Boston, and presently Catholics constitute the city’s main religious group. Also, from the start of the 20th century, the Irish have done a big part in the politics with prominent people including the Kennedys (Lewis, 6).
Between 1631 and 1830, Boston has increased its area three times by reclaiming the land from marshes, mud flats, and spaces between quaysides along the water's edge. By the beginning and the middle of the twentieth century, Boston started to wear off as factories aged and became useless, and businesses shifted to regions of cheaper labor. It reacted by spearheading a wide range of urban renewal projects overseen by the directorate of the BRA, established in 1957. The Boston Redevelopment Authority later re-assessed its approach to city renewal and oversaw future projects of the city, including the government center, the first public health center in the U.S. which is in operation up to date. By the 1970s, the economy of the city roared after about 30 years of economic slump. The economic boom progressed into the mid 1980s. Hospitals and schools were built, including Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston College, University, Harvard School of Medicine, as well as many more other institutions. (Lewis, 7).
Boston is a scholarly, industrial and political hub, though it lost a number of significant regional institutions like the Boston Globe, and some financial firms like FleetBoston Financial, through takeovers and acquisitions. The city has also undergone gentrification in the late 20th century, with the prices of shelter rising stridently since the 1990s. Living expenditures have also risen, and it has one of the uppermost expenditure of living in the U.S., ranked 129th most expensive major Cities globally. Regardless of cost of living concerns, the city ranks far above the ground on livability scaling, being ranked 36th globally in excellence of living (Allison10).
Boston and Economy
Boston city was historically known as centre for wool processing and manufacture of clothing, shoes, and textile and leather products. It has, since 1988-1992, been on the economic recovery which increased strong sale, employment rates, and real estate industry among other sectors. This vibrant economy was as hard hit by the September 11 event as other cities in the US. The larger Boston urban area has the 6th biggest economy in the U.S. and 12th biggest globally (Lewis, 8).Its economy is based on major industries such as academia, technology, research and development, tourism, medicine, food processing and packaging, commercial fishing and finance. Colleges and universities around Boston have a very important impact on the economy of the region. It attracts more than 350,000 students from all over the globe, who inject more than four point eight billion dollars per annum to the economy of Boston. The schools within the area the key employers and also draw investors to the city and to the neighboring regions. Boston hosts a number of technology companies and is also a center for biotechnology, having the Milken Institute of sciences and cluster nationwide. Boston gets the highest unlimited amount of yearly funding from the National Institute of Health. Moreover, the city is viewed to be vastly innovative for many reasons, including the existence of academia, access to project capital, and the existence of high-tech firms.
Tourism encompasses a large section of Boston’s economy, with 21.2 million local and international guests spending 8.3 billion dollars in the year 2011. Because of its status as a center and the area domicile of national bureaus, law and government are other key features of the economy, (Judd & Fainstein, 12). It is also a most important seaport down the Americas east coast and the oldest constantly operational industrial and fishing port in the Western Hemisphere. Other significant industries in Boston are monetary services, particularly communal resources and insurance; it is one of the elite financial cities in America. The city is also a printing and a publishing center, and a home to major convention centers (Lewis, 10).
The steadiest sector of the Boston economy is the health care sector. The industry employs more than 97,000 individuals in the city. Health care jobs correspond to one out of seven jobs in the city. The growth in this sector has been sturdy, despite changing economic conditions and key changes countrywide within the industry. Employments in the health service related sector doubled during the time of economic downturn between 1980 and 1988, but the growth has remained strong since 1992 as healthcare facilities still retains a strong presence in the city; it boasts of about 34 long term facilities, a hospice, and several private practices. The economic influence of educational institutions in the city is not limited to the people directly employed by the sector; the intellectual capital also employment opportunities for the city as well as the surrounding areas, (Sassen, 21).. It has also attracted venture capitalists to the city, who contribute over 1.2 billion dollars in company findings. Other service sector industries also perform well within the city, for example the hotel and hospitality employs over 12,000 persons. The convention and exhibition center contributed to the upsurge of the hotels due to the demand for cultural and entertainment services. Also, over the past 35 years the public and private sectors have done major developments of capital constructions and investment activities within Boston.(Sassen, 14).
The tourism business cuts across several sectors including hotel and hospitality, retail, transportation, cultural and entertainment services, (Judd & Fainstein, 20). The tourists bring foreign money into the city and demand for cultural and public amenities that are enjoyed by the locals too. According to the visitors’ bureau, the total economic impact of visitors amounts to billions of dollars in expenditures. Boston also offers a venue for several functions such as circuses, concerts, entertainment, and other sport events. The city is also a home for three major league sports, and other events such as Boston marathon, which attracts more visitors to the city. The Boston Conventional and Exhibition Center in South Boston, which was completed in the year 2003, has 600,000 square feet of exhibition space enables the city to attract big events bringing millions of visitors to the city. Also, the commercial market of the city is the strongest within the region and in the country (Lewis, 11).
Logically, like many other American cities, Boston has its share of economic challenges, which includes for example the public transportation system, (Zukin, 32). Boston needs more transit, but the state can’t be of much help in terms of funding. An athletic company New Balance, expanded its business ventures into regions that were not served by public transport, and as such decided to take an initiative and build a rail station itself rather than wait for the city, which could have taken years after all. The company is building a new station that will add a new stop between Boston and Worcester at a cost of 16 million dollars, and will fund for its maintenance for at least ten years after the station becomes operational. New Balance is a huge real estate and show company that has its roots in the Boston area. As cities and states keep on struggling with budget issues, economic analysts say that the culture of private companies collaborating with public entities on transportation projects is taking precedence, for instance, Harvard and Boston universities have agreed on a project to fund a separate rail station. The idea of governments building transit is, in some views, not American culture. It uses taxpayer money to build highways and railroads which then increases the values of private property, enriching the private land owners who didn’t spend anything to improve their real estate. Historically speaking, the early infrastructures in the United States were created by private companies (Samwels, 2015).
Comparatively, Boston’s strategic position favored its fast growth by attracting a multiracial composition. Its booming financial economy that facilitated building of rail network nationally gave it economic leverage above cities like Philadelphia, California among others. It also benefited as an international trading port, with exports such as fish, rum, tobacco, salt among others. This explains its expensive living cost compare to cities like Baltimore and San Francisco. The administration of Boston city put up a strong risk management policy that outwitted cities like New York in the 19th century. Many wooden buildings to accommodate dense population in 1835 with poor cushioning measures, culminated into the great New York fires. (Lewis 11). Boston and New York City (NYC) are some of the biggest cultural centers in the Northeast U.S., but they are wide apart in similarities although they also share some similarities in some features. NYC is the climax of everything new and exciting globally. It is an astonishingly fast-paced city boasting of the newest art, or scientific research. On the contrary, Boston is a city built purely on remembering the past. Although the two cities have differences in population demographics and size, the costs of living in both cities is relatively similar. NYC has a wide, sundry ethnic structure in several ways, including an extensive array of food, but the Bostonians prefer their conventional New England cookery. Boston is also more of a college-town as seen from the high population of students in bars and clubs, while NYC has an abundance of late night social life as bars and clubs, and public transport shuts down earlier in Boston (Allison)
Boston and Culture
The city has a robust cultural ancestry with the bigger New England, plus a language of New England accent called Boston English with a specific slang, and a local food culture that emphasizes on seafood and dairy products. Boston and San Francisco have common demographic features, characterized by large number of immigrants and multiracialism, a number from Europe, Africa, Rome, Germany, France, Irish. The Americans from Irish origin are the main influence on the religious and political set up of Boston. The city has been named the ‘Athens of America’ due to its bookish culture, gaining a status of being ‘the intellectual capital of the U.S.’ and in 1852, the first American library was founded in Boston. The city’s bookish culture still continues up to date as seen from the numerous learning institutions, as well as the Boston Book Festival.
Within the extensive culture of Boston, there subsist a few sub-cultures, due to the diversity of the city. Its neighborhoods are mainly ethnic or linked to a group of people, or a lifestyle. Other sub-cultures also correspond to the diverse interests of the city’s community, such as arts, sports, and the huge student population. Those who like sports will appreciate the five major teams of the city, which are football, basketball, hockey, baseball, and soccer. (Pappas, 2012). There are also major events here such as the annual Boston marathon. African American culture in Boston and San Francisco is so colorful.
Research has found that the west coast versus the east coast clash is not merely the making of the media. San Fransisco and Boston cities will always clash in several aspects. The east coast residents of Boston intimately relate their general life satisfaction with their own social status. In San Fransisco, the city dwellers do not make the same association, shimmering a more personal, independent culture. The make of the two cities also differ a lot. Nearly 60 percent of Bostonians originate from Massachusetts, and only sixteen percent come from different nations. In San Francisco, 38 percent of the city-dwellers come from California, while about a third of them are foreigners. The researchers wanted to be deep, so they singled out two cities which have similarities on many fields but differ both historically and culturally. Boston and San Francisco are both seafront, politically freethinking cities with similar economies and lots of intellectual residents. But although puritans founded Boston in 1630, San Francisco did not until 1840s, when prospective miners swamped the city following gold discovery in the city (Pappas, 20).
When it comes to arts and entertainment, Boston holds a prize in this area. The city has a museum for basically every interest, from fine arts, to science. The city’s museums are well known for being amid the best in North America. The administration of the city has invested heavily in establishing performing arts’ theatre centres across the areas.(Hinze, 10) These centre include the Washington street theatre district with many ornate theatres, citi perfoming arts centre among other centres. San Francisco equally appreciates the role of music in communication and especially to the youth generation. Some of these cultural phenomena has attracted attention across the globe, and plus other monumental events that annually occur here, many people make trips to Boston. The airfares are relatively cheap at all seasons and tickets easy to obtain. Boston develops, the arts and culture plan for the city, integrating the residents, and depends a lot on community participation for its success. It also develops a blueprint for arts and culture in the city, which provides a chance for the neighborhoods and the public to input their views and thoughts in their key significant cultural asset. There are museums to gratify history beige like the National Heritage Museum, and many more for various groups of population (Phelan, 38).
Boston is the largest city of Massachusetts in the U.S., which covers an area of 48 square miles and a population of over 650,000 people. It developed as a seaport and industrial center, tourism, and an educational and cultural center, although manufacturing later took over as a significant part of the economy. The city is also a scholarly, and political hubs as many of the government institutions are located here. The Boston urban area has the 6th biggest economy in the U.S. and twelfth biggest globally, being contributed by education and tourism sector. Boston also has a stable healthcare system and a reliable industrial infrastructure. The city shares several cultural ancestry with the bigger New England, although Other sub-cultures correspond to the diverse interests of the city’s community, such as arts, sports, and the huge student population. Boston has a rich sense of art and entertainment, boasting of museums of every kind, ranging from fine arts to science, and heritage. The success of the art and entertainment industry of the Boston city is owed to its involvement of the community, and the neighborhoods having a rich ethnic diversity.
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