Bostonians are fervently wishing for increased water right now — if you mean the kind of flowing H2O that comes from melting snow. But plans for the future march on amid winter crises.
Last October, the Boston Living With Water challenge asked designers, planners and architects around the world to redesign Boston for a future affected by climate — meaning, for one, a world with higher sea levels. This week, nine finalists were announced. The teams are competing for a $20,000 prize that will be decided in June. (The City of Boston, the Boston Harbor Association, the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Boston Society of Architects are behind the initiative.)
Proposals had to address one of three sites particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels: the Prince Building in the North End, Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester, and the 100-acre neighborhood of Fort Point.
“We issued an ambitious challenge … and I’m pleased that we received equally ambitious responses,” said Mayor Marty Walsh. “It’s difficult to imagine what the world will look like in the year 2100, but we know for certain that now is the time to prepare for sea level rise. The proposals that came in from around the world demonstrate that a more resilient, sustainable, and beautiful future is within our reach if we work together.”
The jury chose three finalists in three categories: building, neighborhood and infrastructure. Here’s a look at the nine finalists.
Gallery: Boston Living With Water Finalists
The Prince Building Piers: This plan welcomes the seawater and creates an “urban seashore” with recreation and ecological reclamation.
Finalist, building. Team: Architects Stephanie Goldberg and Mark Reed
Water FUN: The Future Underwater Neighborhood district, or FUN, aims to create an area that’s appealing to tourists and can stand a regular influx of water.
Finalist, building. Team: ARC/Architectural Resources Cambridge
No Building Is an Island: This plan offers a “resilience report card” that would help the city in mapping risk.
Finalist, building. Team: Harvard Graduate School of Design
Bountiful Delta: The proposal offers resilient waterfront neighborhoods with modular infrastructure and adaptable land (turn a community garden into a fish farm!).
Finalist, neighborhood. Team: University of Washington
Resilient Linkages: This plan conceives of a brand-new street grid for which developers of tomorrow have to design.
Finalist, neighborhood. Team: NBBJ
Urban Waterfront District: This proposal would raise the entire base and infrastructure of a 100-acre waterfront neighborhood by approximately 12 feet.
Finalist, neighborhood. Team: Architerra
The Hydrokinetic Canal: This proposal envisions a 100-year transformation, with a new system of waterways providing resilience to climate change.
Finalist, infrastructure. Team: Paul Lukez Architecture
The Omega Chain: One of the features of this proposal’s resilient network is an elevated and curved roadway adjacent to a park, designed with traffic-calming in mind.
Finalist, infrastructure. Team: Howard & Cavaluzzi Architects Intl., Beijing office
Totally Resilient Approach: This transportation-centric plan aims to improve neighborhood connections.
Finalist, infrastructure. Team: Thetis S.p.A.
Jenn Stanley is a freelance journalist, essayist and independent producer living in Chicago. She has an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.