Boston Harbor Now recently held a harbor use forum with the Trustees of Reservations for members of the public and local stakeholders to learn more about the One Waterfront Initiative.

One Waterfront: Imagining The Future Of Boston, is a project to establish a network of new, green open spaces along Boston’s inner harbor. Nick Black, Managing Director of the Boston Waterfront Initiative for the Trustees presented along with Bud Ris, Senior Advisor at Boston Green Ribbon Commission. Black explained how the Initiative is going about achieving its goals for potential sites, centered around four foundational pillars:

The potential to serve as a world-class destination

  • Generate tourism and high visibility, drawing people from around Boston and beyond;
  • Capture “spirit of place,” bringing forward the uniqueness or iconic nature of a place;
  • Rethink old infrastructure and celebrate historic or former uses unique to Boston;
  • Create potential for excellent, bold design;
  • Maintain or enhance local flavor and distinction.

Community need and relevance

  • Increase accessibility to open space and the water’s edge. Consider current and future public access via a range of transport;
  • Place high-value on public use, exploring types of engagement that would fulfill community need;
  • Address voids in communities underserved by green space;
  • Support economic development and community benefit analyses with sensitivity to gentrification and equity.

Climate resilience value

  • Address specific climate impacts and vulnerabilities;
  • Bring resiliency to the Boston landscape and activate it in local urban planning practice;
  • Design and implement creative solutions, guided by international best-practices and innovation.

Feasibility

  • Acquisition, construction, ongoing operations & management must be financially viable;
  • Regulatory frameworks are supportive or can be adjusted (within reason);
  • Waterfront geographies should reflect urgency of this work and concern for fast-moving markets;
  • Potential geographies should weigh overall viability of land remediation and transformation.

East Boston’s Piers Park, the North End’s Sargent’s Wharf, South Boston’s Dry Dock No.4 and the Fort Point Channel were identified as key sites of future potential.

Nick Black, Managing Director of the Boston Waterfront Initiative for the Trustees

Concerning Sargent’s Wharf, Black spoke about potentially converting the area into a 2.5 acre public green space, acknowledging the inherent challenges of the proposal which include BPDA control and the presence of the parking garage on-premises.

“We would need to have serious conversations with the neighborhood about this,” Black said, also commenting on how the area could serve a role with regard to climate resiliency.

“Each and every one of these locations must be accessible and enjoyable for all, but in order to do that we have to figure out what these communities really want. This isn’t something we can do alone.” Black stated, identifying community engagement as an essential part of the Trustees continuing mission.

The next Harbor Use Public Forum will be on December 18 at 45 Devonshire Street.


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