While the construction cranes that dot the city's burgeoning Seaport district may be the most visible signs of the changes to the city made during Menino's time in office, McMorrow argues that the mayor's biggest impact has been on the relationship between Boston's neighborhoods and downtown development.
"Menino became the first modern Boston mayor to straddle both these worlds," McMorrow says. "For all his efforts to cast himself as an urban mechanic focused on the nuts-and-bolts minutiae of city government, Menino relished the role as city-builder as much as [former mayor Kevin White] did."
"Menino found a way to tie massive downtown construction projects to the brand of small-ball, neighborhood-level politics that enabled him to dominate Boston for 20 years. Instead of making downtown development a zero-sum game, he seeded the benefits of downtown construction throughout neighborhoods."