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Wharf District Public Realm Video: A Vision for the Future

The Wharf District Council (WDC) has released their Public Realm Video, a presentation the Council hopes will inspire conversation and guidance around climate resiliency, connectivity, and accessibility.

The WDC has spent several months collecting ideas from stakeholder meetings and public charrettes on what local individuals hope to see as the future of the wharf district. The Council decided to create a video so that the information would be easy to view and understand. In 2016 the WDC released a public realm vision in document form that was well-received, but some felt it was too much information to read through and absorb.

This new video looks at coastal cities around the world and how they create inviting places of sustainable, urban living. Based around the three main points of resiliency, connectivity, and accessibility, this collective vision focuses on the theme of “connecting the city to the sea.”

Some ideas in the video compiled by the WDC include improvements to the HarborWalk, an expanded water transportation network, and a sculptural lighthouse at Long Wharf. Projects such as the New England Aquarium “Blueway” and the Harbor Garage redevelopment are also addressed.

Watch the full video above and share your thoughts via email to

8 Replies to “Wharf District Public Realm Video: A Vision for the Future

  1. Was taken aback while watching the video. I call it the ‘ruination of Boston’. After a bit of research the numbers are in. Boston is 90 acres and is the most densely populated region in the US with a count of 614,583. Hamburg has 1,738,117 residents; Oslo has 1,000,467; Sydney has 5.23 million people. These foreign cities are larger with higher population numbers and can embrace such waterfront architecture. Can Boston? So much money, soon to be gone down the drain !

  2. Must give this more than the quick run-thru I just did.
    Fresh and clean is good. There are many positive scenes.
    The Conceptual Lighthouse is not good, at least to this observer. #1. It covers that beautiful Compass Rose at the end of Long Wharf and #2. it resembles a Chernobyl nuclear tower. This frightened me. In no way does it resemble a lighthouse to me.
    Just one woman’s initial reaction.

  3. Very slick video. I would have liked to see some mention about the horrific traffic that will occur if Don Chiafaro’s monster buildings get built.
    I do like the James Hook project. I hope that gets going soon. Its scale is much more appealing and appropriate to the neighborhood.

    1. Nick. I agree with your comment, esp the James Hook project. Yes, it is the ‘scale’ of this project that is truly a misfit here in this historic city. (My opinion.) Something a bit sterile shown through on the video.

    2. Curious if you read Chiafaro’s PNF that came out yesterday, Nick, and if it has impacted your opinion at all.

      1. Adam, please remember the developer and architect made this video to profile how attractive the project will look. They use clever sight lines and lighting to make us think it will be a beautiful, low impact project.
        I hope the residents at Harbor Towers and the Conservation La Foundation look carefully at the engineering blueprints. That enormous building will be built on filled land, essentially rubble with Boston blue clay underneath. Building a foundation for a building that size is hugely expensive especially when the building will have multi level parking underneath. The developer should drill many piles right into the bedrock but that’s expensive. Or, he could get clever structural engineers to come up with a hybrid raft (floating) foundation which is much cheaper but possibly not as safe. A building that tall will oscillate in the wind causing tremendous pressure on any foundation and destabilizing the ground underneath. If there is a hurricane or an earthquake the integrity of the tower could be compromised. Look what happened to the Millennial Tower in San Francisco.

  4. It’s a nice video for conceptual ideas, but I thought not showing the full height of the garage replacement was kind of a little dishonest. I think it’s been approved for 600 feet. I’m not commenting on the positive or negative of the approval, but I think it’s wrong not to show the full permitted height. It would be much taller than the current Harbor Towers. The building in the rendering just sort of vanished about half way up. Also, the lighthouse is a nice idea, but look to Singapore for their Merlion. I think that’s a better example of engaging sculpture.

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