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The City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have attempted to develop air rights over the Boston Extension of the Massachusetts Turnpike ever since its construction during the 1960s. There is widespread agreement among politicians, developers and residents that such development would solve myriad existing problems— from aesthetics to safety, to a dire shortage of groundwater. Nevertheless, very little has been built and the turnpike remains an open scar, dividing the urban landscape and undermining important civic objectives. This Note attempts to explain the historical and legal obstacles that have prevented the development of air rights: namely, a misunderstanding of city planning, a weak and belated home rule amendment, and the lingering effects of an Irish-Yankee rivalry.


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
6 Sep 2022
911 kB



  • Subject
    • Land Use Law

  • Journal title
    • Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review

  • Volume
    • 36

  • Issue
    • 2

  • Pagination
    • 607

  • Date submitted

    6 September 2022