City Spotlight: Boston

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By Asif Lakhani

Boston is home to 29 colleges and universities and two community colleges, according to the Boston Planning and Development Agency. College students made up 7.32 percent of Boston’s population in 2016, according to Citylab. As a result, graduation season gets quite busy in Boston. Commencement ceremonies also mark the unofficial beginning of summer, where tourism picks up due to a break from winter weather.

A popular destination for travelers sometimes isn’t Boston itself, but rather Cape Cod, which is only an hour’s drive away and home to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Many Americans know these seaside villages to be popular vacation destinations for U.S. presidents.

The city itself is business savvy. The Hynes Convention Center is located in the heart of the city and is scheduled to host a handful of science gatherings in 2019, as well as the New England Cannabis Convention and Boston Tattoo Convention, both of which will take place in March.

In January of 2018, the city created a new ordinance that outlined the guidelines and regulations for short-term rentals. Signed into effect by Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the ordinance enables the city to collect data on short-term rental units such as addresses, owners, and frequency of occupation to ensure its safety and stability remain intact. The rules also will “provide protections for occupants and minimize the impact on surrounding neighbors” of home-share units, according to a press release.

A secondary goal of the ordinance is to prevent monopolization. Monitoring how properties are used will “mitigate the loss of long-term housing units to a short-term market,” the mayor’s office wrote in the proposal to the Boston City Council.

A study conducted by the Boston Hospitality Review, an interdisciplinary journal from Boston University, found that the city had more than 16,000 active Airbnb listings in June 2017 and has nearly 30,000 listings total. The ordinance from the mayor’s office alludes to the popular travel website (and similar services) as a primary reason for the creation of the ordinance.

Founded by Puritans in 1630, Boston actually is older than America. The Revolution Hotel, which opened in Boston’s South End in December of 2018, pays homage to the city’s unique history not only in name but also in design. Throughout the hotel, guests will find artwork and factoids that represent ideologies, people, and things that originated in Boston, such as Facebook, the Polaroid camera, and more.

Beyond art, there’s also a co-working space inside the hotel called Conspire that is free for guests to use as part of their stay. The bar top inside Conspire is crafted from Boston elm trees that date back to the 1880s, according to boston.com. Perhaps what’s most unique about the 163 rooms at the Revolution Hotel are the types of rooms it offers. There are studio suites for business travelers, bigger rooms for groups traveling together, and premium suites for intimate pairings.

All in all, Boston is one of America’s most unique cities because of its location, history, cultural relevance, and innovative spirit. While it may have been settled and developed long ago, the future of the city still is very much indicative of where we are as a country today.

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