ONE Architecture, led by Matthijs Bouw, is working with the City of Boston on Climate Ready East Boston and Charlestown, an initiative to generate district-scale solutions to flooding. Their work builds upon recommendations from the 2016 Climate Ready Boston report, which called on the City to make climate resiliency central to major planning efforts.
ONE produced short- and long-term, layered infrastructure and open space strategies to protect against successive changes in sea levels and storm effects, and that leverage resiliency efforts for improvements beneficial to local communities, the environment, under-served populations, public agencies, and private landowners. It also made both opportunistic and strategic recommendations for implementation in East Boston and Charlestown, as well as policies, evaluation criteria, and prototypes that can be adapted across the city, subject to additional localized conditions, stakeholders, etc. The engagement strategy has been multi-pronged and designed to reach individual property owners, public agencies, existing and potential partners, and a wide swath of the local communities and residents with the goal of building a critical mass of consensus. Feedback from this process and from regular guidance from the steering committee was filtered back through proposals in order to best tailor these strategies to the circumstances and stakeholders at hand.
The feasibility study, completed in August 2017, sought to develop solutions that could be implemented in and around flood entry points to provide the districts with greater protection for sea level rise and coastal flooding. The proposed solutions span a range of interventions, including physical infrastructure projects, design standards, regulations, and financial incentives. Physical solutions included flood walls, elevated public spaces, and natural wetland buffers. The outcome of the multi-stakeholder process included a longer-term vision, preliminary designs, and an implementation roadmap.
Two immediate-term projects emerged directly from the study. At the entrance to the East Boston Greenway, a critical breachpoint will be resolved by the implementation of a new, raised, pocket park. In Charlestown, the team leveraged a planned transit improvement project. Working with MassDOT, the scope was expanded to include the raising of Rutherford Avenue, closing a major flood pathway for marginal additional cost.