Boston Proper
Reports. A new way to find and compare similar neighborhoods.

Display layers

Airplane noise

  • Noise levels (decibels)
    60 dB
    65 dB
    70 dB: defined as 'irritating' level of noise, comparable to a vacuum cleaner or television set at a loud volume.
    75 dB: defined as a constant irritating level of sound, comparable to a busy restaurant.
  • SOURCE: Noise Contour Map (2016) from Federal Aviation Authority.

    NOTE 1: Decibels are a logarithmic, not linear, measurement of noise levels. 70dB is twice as loud as 60dB, and 80 dB is twice as loud as 70dB. At 80dB, there is possible hearing damage over an eight hour exposure.

    NOTE 2: However, the noise contour map does not reflect all the neighborhoods that are affected by airplane noise. Please see our report for a chart of the neighborhoods where the most airplane noise complaints have been made.
  • < Return to map legend

Flood zones

Zoning districts

    Boston Proper



Back Bay

100 Beacon St. #7 via Redfin



Bay Village

34 Fayette St. #2 via Trulia



Beacon Hill

Contains: Flat of the Hill, North Slope, South Slope
7 Mt. Vernon St via Redfin




Image via Wikimedia Commons



Downtown Crossing

Contains: Ladder District
1 Franklin St. #2412 via Redfin



Financial District

500 Atlantic Ave. #17Q via Trulia



Government Center

Image via City of Boston



Leather District

111 Beach St. via Compass



North End

93 Charter St. via Compass



South End

86 Berkeley St. via Trulia



Theatre District

Contains: Ladder District
Image via Millennium Place




Rowes Wharf via CL Properties



West End

Image via Wikimedia Commons

'Boston Proper'

Boston was established in 1630 at the edge of the Shawmut Peninsula, and the historic neighborhoods which were developed on this peninsula have become the heart of "Boston Proper."

However, the peninsula itself has been significantly expanded over the years using reclaimed land, and the neighborhoods themselves have changed through a combination of market forces, changing preferences, massive fires, and misguided urban renewal policy. And Boston itself has grown significantly by annexing other towns: the South End was once the southern end of the peninsula, but today it feels like the middle of Boston, given the annexation of Dorchester and Roxbury.

The North End might be considered the oldest neighborhood of Boston, established 1630, but with the exception of the buildings around North Square, very little survives from the 1600s or 1700s. Ditto for Downtown Crossing and the West End, which was an affluent and elegant neighborhood before it was demolished by urban renewal. Even though Beacon Hill did not begin to be developed until the 1790s, it is today perhaps the most uniformly intact historic neighborhood in Boston.

The neighborhoods of Boston Proper include Back Bay, Bay Village, Beacon Hill, Chinatown, Downtown Crossing, Fenway-Kenmore, Financial District, Government Center, Leather District, North End, South End, West End, and the Waterfront.