* The author is an attorney and President of New Ecology, Inc. (NEI), a non-profit environmental organization that promotes economic development in urban communities. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Boston College Law School and Lecturer in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the interests of full disclosure, NEI has provided planning and legal support to the Mystic View Task Force, one of the parties involved in the redevelopment project that is the subject of this essay. 1Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities 448 (1961). 2Id. at 3. 3Massachusetts Executive Office of Envtl. Affairs, The State of Our Environment 53 (Apr. 2000). 4Willaim Shutkin, The Land That Could Be: Environmentalism and Democracy in the Twenty-First Century 66 (2000). 5 This estimate comes from Sam Bass Warner, who, along with two colleagues, has undertaken a study of the cost of pollution control and mitigation as a result of impervious surfaces in Cambridge. 6Shutkin,supra note 4, at 64. 7Massachusetts Executive Office of Envtl. Affairs, supra note 3, at 24-25. 8SeeThinking Ecologically: The Next Generation of Environmental Policy 1-37, 60-76 (Marian R. Chertow & Daniel C. Esty eds., 1997). 9Jacobs, supra note 1, at 448. 10Somervilles Last Frontier,Community F. (Mystic View Task Force, Somerville, Mass.), May 22, 1999 at 18 [hereinafter Last Frontier]. Most planners and environmental psychologists agree that a healthy, safe urban environment requires at least six acres of open space per 1000 residents, and thats a bare minimum. See id. 11See Jacobs, supra note 1, at 448. 12See David Quammen, Planet of Weeds: Tallying the Losses of Earths Animals and Plants, Harpers Magazine, Oct. 1998, at 67-68. 13 Peter J. Howe, Somerville, MA: The New Power Address, Boston Globe, Sept. 24, 2000, at G1. 14SeeLast Frontier, supra note 10, at 13. 15 The Amelia Earhart Dam, constructed in the 1960s, still stands. It was built to hold back tidal surges and maintain a constant depth in the Mystic. As a result of the dam, the river channel was straightened, providing enough soil material to create the footings for the construction of Interstate 93 in the early 1970s. See id. at 9. 16See id. at 5. 17See id. at 6. 18See id. at 5. 19SeeThomas Bender, Toward an Urban Vision: Ideas and Institutions in the Nineteenth Century 39-40 (1975). 20See Last Frontier,supra note 10, at 6. 21See id. 22See id. 23See id. 24Seeid. 25See id. The Mystic View Task Force, the community group promoting an alternative to big-box, car-dependent development in the Assembly Square area, wants to rename the area Mystic View, reasserting the primacy of the river and emphasizing the importance of place and ecology in any development scheme. See Last Frontier, supra note 10, at 8. 26See id. at 9. 27See id. at 18. 28See id. at 9. 29See id. 30See id. at 9-10. 31See Last Frontier, supra note 10, at 14. 32See id. 33See id. at 10. 34See id. 35Id. at 1. 36See id. 37See Last Frontier, supra note 10, at 1. The information about the community forum and the content of the Task Forces development plan is taken from the Last Frontier report and related Task Force-produced documents. 38 For an interesting account of New York Citys attempt to restore native plant species to city lands, see Kirk Johnson, Return of the Natives: Playing God in the Fields, N.Y. Times, Nov. 12, 2000, at 33. Among other issues, the story presents the knotty problem of determining exactly what is native to a place in light of ecological disequilibrium and the ever-changing nature of habitats over extended time periods. See id. 39SeeLast Frontier, supra note 10, at 19. 40 The National Development Corporation also has an ownership stake in the Mall. For the purposes of this essay, however, only Taurus, the lead owner, will be discussed. 41See generallyThe Cecil Group, Inc., Assembly Square Planning Study (2000). 42See id. at 2. 43 Nathaniel W. Cook, One, Possibly Two, Aldermen to Leave, Boston Globe, Nov. 12, 2000, at 4. 44 A PUD is a comprehensive site plan in which a mixture of land uses, open space and buildings are developed as a single entity. 45See Somerville, Mass., An Ordinance Amending the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Somerville By Establishing an Assembly Square Interim Planning District (Aug. 22, 2000). 46See id. 47See William McDonough & Michael Braungart, The Next Industrial Revolution, Atlantic Monthly, Oct. 1998, at 82.