Columbia Point stood out starkly on the Boston landscape. It was not necessarily the worst of Boston's housing projects, but it was certainly the most visible. For thousands of commuters driving up and down the Southeast Expressway in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was a haunting sight: a forbidding mass of flat-topped yellow brick buildings, their windows covered with red plywood, isolated out at the edge of the bay. From afar there were no signs of life, and most people had no reason to get any closer. Stories in the newspapers told of drug dealers, prostitution, shootings. Columbia Point was a symbol of failure the failure of public housing, the failure of racial integration, the failure of war on poverty that many people would just as soon forget.

It had not always been so.

Columbia Point had a very different past, and it would have a very different future. 

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