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Future Boston Alliance Fights For A Hipper Boston

Greg Selkoe, founder of Boston-based streetwear company Karmaloop, is putting $200,000 into a new nonprofit aimed at making Boston more attractive to young, creative workers.

The Future Boston Alliance made a splash with their video manifesto, which complained about a regulatory environment that restricts 24-hour culture and compared Mayor Tom Menino to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

We talk with the Future Boston Alliance about what they want to achieve and how they intend to achieve it while making an enemy of the powerful mayor.


  • Malia Lazu, director, Future Boston Alliance
  • Joan Vennochi, columnist, Boston Globe


Other stories from this show:

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  • http://www.fibrowitch.net Jan Dumas

    I envy their ability to get PR, but I guess that is what money brings. I agree that our city has problems, not being able to get a drink after 1am, or letting a person sell t-shirts out of a van our not currently problems.

    Brain drain is not a problem either, those of us who had the benefit of being born here are not stupid. But FBA thinks we are.

  • J__o__h__n

    I actually prefer going to concerts without getting kicked in the head. 

  • J__o__h__n

    I’d love a radio debate between Mumbles and um-um-um-um-um.

  • Mary

    Hip – schmip.. How about more affordable housing, not just expensive condos… that will make Boston a hip place for all, not just those lucky few who can afford it!!

  • SMK

    Brain drain? Is this person serious? 

  • CAWG

    Yah…I don’t think acting like a jerk, then turning around and saying you want to work it out is really going to solve the problem. That’s not indicating your open to collaboration, it’s only indicating that you’re an ass. And, I’m insulted that only the “younger” people are the “creative class” or that we’re out of the loop. I have no problem challenging Mayor Menino (and I think on some things, he really needs to be challenged) and his administration is a problem, but I’m getting really tired of the “acting like an ass to get attention” and not really focusing on finding real solutions. Getting jobs for this younger group, as well as those currently living in the city…practicing professionals who want to raise families here…is more important than how late the bars are open. Night life and I’d say improving the school system and access to family housing will also keep these younger people in the city…they’re are a lot of cool, smart, entrepreneurs in this city that are in their late-twenties, thirties, and forties…all raising families, wanting to stay here, but not having adequate schools and housing. One of the things I and others would like to see is an end to the disinvestment in public education and it’s infrastructure, and the hiring of people who can actually effectively manage this education. That’s a real issue that’s in fact being egregiously ignored and only being “talked at” by the Menino administration. Something like 500 kindergarten students didn’t get placed in Boston this year because they closed 12 schools and mismanaged the system. People are leaving the city because they can’t get their kids into a decent school. I think that’s a more important issue than how late the bars are open.

    • CAWG

       I would also say, that bars aren’t the only solution. People stay in this city for all kinds of reasons…besides jobs and barhopping. Music venues would be the more likely candidate, artists areas, etc. Some of the most vibrant areas in the city are home to a diversity of people…so, creating smart growth districts, multicultural areas, continuing with the open space initiatives, and making more efficient and less costly to live the city (improving MBTA, biking, pedestrian areas, access to resources, etc.) are really important to improving the city. There are areas like Dorchester and Mattapan where you really are car dependent just to get food. That’s not conducive to having an active night life or a diverse community.

  • http://www.fibrowitch.net Jan Dumas

    After talking to Malia I am even more inclined to not take the group seriously. She stands by the recent post calling the lack of mixed race nightclubs to be apartheid.   For a so proclaimed smart person to not know what apartheid  and segregation really mean tells me she is not interested in talking about improving Boston. 

  • Jen

    I moved here from another state because I wanted to be in a more urban area where there was more to do than go to bars. I would prefer bookstores to be open later rather than bars.  In truth I don’t mind the lack of late night activities it has taught me to get to sleep at a decent hour and get up early so I don’t miss all the things I want to do.

    What does the Boston area need to retain more students? We need better wages, the wages offered here don’t take into consideration the cost of living.  If you can get the same wage for a lower cost of living in another city it makes sense that you would move to where your money would go further, especially if you have a large amount of student loans.

    We also need more affordable housing in the area both in terms of rental as well as buying. The US census shows that more 60% of the population is single or married with no children so available housing has to reflect this.  We need more housing to buy in the $100,000 to $250,000 range and it doesn’t necessarily need parking but outdoor gardens would be welcome.

    The MBTA cut bus service in Somerville, MA where people who can’t afford to live in Boston choose to move to. I have three roommates with PHDs who all work at Harvard. We cannot afford to live in Boston. Our rent of $600 each not including utilities makes it much more affordable to live together in Somerville. We also don’t have cars, don’t want cars and couldn’t afford cars. When we need a car we rent a Zipcar, otherwise, we bike, walk and take public transportation every where we need to go.  Massachusetts needs to continue to support public transportation in inner ring cities in the form of buses because this is where our young,urban, smart people live.

    Most of the colleges and universities in the Boston area are private universities so most of the students attending  are probably not from the Boston area. They came here to attend school here. If they came from other large cities it makes sense that they would return because most of their friends and family contacts are from those areas. We are competing on a global level not just a national level many  students  from elite private universities are going abroad to work in London, Paris, Toronto, Montreal and Berlin.

    The community colleges and public colleges in the area have local folks who want to stay in the area it would make more sense to invest more time, money and education in those folks to help them succeed and transfer into some of those elite private colleges and universities from whom we wish students would stay.

    • CAWG

      They also need to push for the Greenline Extension through Somerville into Medford. I agree with you on most of your statement. Though, I know a lot of folks who stayed after college and didn’t go back to their home towns for family reasons or other.

  • CAWG

    I’ll also point out…Greg Selkoe, is 37. He’s an entrepreneur, but he’s no longer “young” and fresh out of college…or truly part of the crowd he’s talking about any more. I’m noticing that quite a few of the folks who support the Future Boston Alliance are people who own or work in bars or the restaurant industry.  You have to assume a business bias there, if that’s the case. He’s around my age…established….maybe a trend setter…maybe a community leader, depending on your definition, but definitely no long a “young entrepreneur.”

  • Jamesmichaelcurley

    What a bunch of entitled DB’s. There’s more to being a Bostonian than being young, hip and creative. I would bet most of these people are out-of-towners who stuck around after college, with no history or familial connections to Boston. It’s the same crowd that will move to Needham or Scituate once they get married. Thank God the silent majority of REAL Bostonians still endure…

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