The Green Monster

We here at The Clam have been watching with interest the proposals for affordable housing at the Cameron’s site. More specifically, we’ve been watching the reactions to the proposal with interest. The project is, as you may have guessed, meeting a lot of resistance from local residents.

Recently, images emerged which represent the basic layout and shape of the proposed structure. They literally made the drawing lime green and orange, and included exactly zero architectural features which would define this as a building. It’s essentially a representation of the mass and spatial occupation of the proposed building.

Seriously, there are no windows or doors. It’s just a shape. A green and orange shape.

People thought this was real.

The beauty of the local dissension is twofold, really. First, a lot of people apparently cannot fathom that this big green and orange windowless, doorless shape in the pictures is not actually how the building will look. It’s delightful.

Secondly, there’s a big dose of ugly classism being disguised as concern for the logistical soundness of the plan. This is less delightful, though not entirely surprising to be honest.

Below are actual comments from your fellow townspeople, lifted from the internet, with helpful translation as to what they really mean.

” Is “Affordable” a fancy word for Section 8?”Translation -“Keep the poors out of downtown. Also I’m probably a little bit racist.”

“Why is it so ugly? And where are the windows?”Translation – “I’m dumb “

“Keep housing off Main Street !”  Translation – “The new housing I mean. All those people who live there already are obviously not scary poor folks, they’re Gloucester locals. “

“No more section 8 in Gloucester” Translation – “I dislike poors in general. Also I’m kind of racist. No I’m a lot racist.”

“awful design! No windows. Lime green and orange!! No charm, In a charming city. Please don’t build this!!” Translation – “I actually believe this is a design which would be built, this actual green and orange box is something I think could come to fruition.”

” how can this even meet code…no windows. ..what if there is a do you get out…how does it get vented other than thru the roof…are the architect’s crazy. ..or just dumb..A kindergarten could do better” Translation – “I think I’m being clever in pointing out building code violations.”

” Ugly. Just plain ugly. And, although they might be well intentions, to bring affordable housing, these things usually don’t end up well. Check out Red Road flats in Scotland, Divis flats in Ireland, and the Projects in Southie.” Translation – “Poor people just don’t know how to behave.” 

“Kids need green space and elderly do not need to inhale toxic fumes. Downtown is not the right spot for housing!” Translation – “WON’T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!?” 

“Not to mention that fire code requires windows and fire escapes on anything two or more floors…at least in NYC’ Translation – “I don’t know how you bumpkins do it, but us city folk have things like windows on our buildings.”

“My Mother was born in Gloucester. I wish I could have a say in this.”   Translation – “Native born Gloucester people are more important than transplants.” 


We thought some of these folks may want to make counter proposals, as you do when something is so important to you.  We’re helpfully providing some examples which we think they’ll find to be much more suitable for Affordable Housing, so that they can make a nice presentation for City Hall. Obviously these should be nowhere near Downtown. Maybe Dogtown or West Gloucester. You’re welcome!

At least this one has windows. They should be thankful.

A tidy way to round up all the poor people into one spot so they can fend for themselves.

West Gloucester does have a ton of room.


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  1. Christine Witham

    Given what some of the newest, classiesty high-end condo/”affordable housing” projects (see E.Boston & Chelsea) look like (LegoLand throw up) – I am very afraid. I wouldn’t put it past the builders to go for secondary color schemes either.

  2. Thank you for jumping on this topic. As a tenement kid from Lynn, I know only too well the most painful of comments are mostly in hushed tones. I have been hearing the grumblings from people of all backgrounds and it isn’t pretty. I own the DressCode on Main street and we make it our goal to try and care for each and every human being that walks in the door, especially the ones who would kick you in the face because they need it the most. Fear is always at the root of anger and it rears its ugly head when people shut out reason and compassion. Its one thing to not like the design of something that you have only seen a bare draft of but its a whole other thing when you you add the words section eight or affordable housing. I know I lived it and will never forget the terms that the adults around us used to call us. It was as if they thought we were an alien species that hadn’t the ability to hear. If people thought that everything they said could be heard by everyone, they would be very careful in choosing what they said. Thank you for writing this story. It touches home deeper then you will ever know. Barbara Koen

  3. One of the images showed the entrance to the parking garage and a detailed attached shop. That’s probably what led people to believe these were actual renderings.

  4. Christopher Anderson

    I am apparently an idiot because I was on that thread wondering what they were thinking by releasing those sketches (I’m very much for the project, but don’t feel the sketches helped at all except to draw attention. Expect a bunch more crazies at the next meeting!). Where do I turn in my keyboard? Or do I just throw it into the harbor with all the other trash? Just curious.

  5. These important conversation about our community always go to the cheap shot “We vs They” If one questions something like the density of subsidized housing in the downtown core , “They are raciest , classists and dislike the poor.”
    Bull, nobody living in the downtown imagines a gated community or anything of the kind or dosnt think that diversity is what makes Gloucester a wonderful place to live . Having been a resident on Pleasant St for 20 years I know my neighbors and we all do pretty well. What there are of problems of urban living are something we accept, but the tipping point may be reached some day to the dismay of all Gloucester residents with the Housing Dept saying in their 5 year plan that creation and increase of all types of subsidized housing is their goal …and probably in the downtown core, my guess.
    As we look at the planning of the downtown I hope we can hang on to a truly diverse neighborhood, renters , elderly , subsidized and owner occupants. a healthy mix.

  6. Is The Clam done? The last post was on 8/4 and the last one before that was about some sort of Kickstarter for whales??? Should we be concerned?

    • They do seem to be on summer hiatus. Maybe we lurking commenters need to start generating content (that should scare them back to work if nothing else).

    • we aren’t done! we are posting tomorrow! we have been crazy busy, but we will be coming back!

  7. Maybe the Clam could sponsor an outdoor showing on I4C2 of
    Show Me a Hero

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