Transformative Actions in the Boston Harbor: Lessons Learned from Past Projects Toward a Resilient and Sustainable Urban Future
with Yair Titelboim, 2022
Following a long history of transformative environmental policy and massive investment in infrastructure, Boston’s harbor has transformed in the last 30 years from an industrial wasteland to an essential resource for urban development, economic growth, and public benefit. Today, amidst rapid urban expansion, an increase in population, and impending climate threats, Boston’s waterfront is poised for a critical subsequent transformation. This paper examines comparable urban projects and gathers lessons to address resilience as the next major urban challenge for the Boston metropolitan area. The 2016 Climate Ready Boston initiative framed the City’s particular vulnerabilities and has resulted in the Mayor’s Harbor Vision for unifying objectives aimed at leveraging open spaces for resilience and equity. The implementation of such a vision will require a herculean effort and will undoubtedly transform the public realm for the better. This study conducted a retrospective review of the Boston Harbor Cleanup and the construction of the Central Artery Tunnel to extract methods and challenges for implementation and evaluate the long-term impact on the City. This paper focuses on two key aspects: (1) tools for implementation (2) project benefits. Tools for implementation include strategies for financing, regulatory challenges, opportunities for new governance and organizational structures, community engagement, and the role played by civic groups and philanthropy. The impacts explored include the value of environmental cleanup, public health, and social equity. This paper concludes by proposing a framework for the best practices to implement Climate Ready Boston and emphasizes the significance of public participation in the process. It summarizes how this endeavor can be seen as an opportunity to reenvision the waterfront and learn from past projects as the City’s waterfront continues to transcend from industrial uses toward recreational, ecological, and sustainable purposes.
with Kayci Gallagher
Peddocks Island is one of the largest islands within The Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area (US). Though it has 200 acres of rich biodiversity, the island has limited public transportation access and is rarely considered a destination for visitors. The use of the island and its ecology have transformed throughout history, both of which are now positioned to transform again due to climate change and rising sea levels. This article suggests that the island's history, geology, mythology, and ecology perfectly situate it for experiencing the temporal and spatial impacts of climate change. Amitav Ghosh identifies the importance of communicating uncertainties of the changing climate and thus, building temporal awareness through designed narratives. In this work, we suggest the island as a 'living lab,' available for both controlled observations and for the public to experience the realities of climate change. The narrative proposes tangible and experiential concepts in response to Ghosh's proposition by exploring mutable and ephemeral infrastructural design strategies.
The Interplay of Intersectionality and Vulnerability Towards Equitable Resilience Learning from Climate Adaptation Practices
with Aynaz Lotfata
In any hazard risk studies, protecting vulnerable groups should be addressed while people have different capacities and levels of resilience to risk. In this entry, we promote the analysis of vulnerability to climate-driven hazards by applying the intersectionality prospect. We call for intersectionality as a qualitative approach that can foster the resilience of social dimensions while it gives a better understanding of vulnerable groups. Intersectionality is a sociodemographic profile of society and addresses hidden inequities of communities. This study studied three Climate-Driven Urban Practices to identify the way vulnerability and equity are addressed in terms of intersectionality. This study invites practitioners and policymakers to investigate, monitor, and control the hazard exposure and sensitivity at the individual and social levels.
with Yair Titelboim
Overnight the pestilence and ecohistorical events disrupted the order designed to facilitate numbness to the planetary condition. The current crisis reveals that the exigent machinery envisioned by Buckminster Fuller and Reyner Banham for climate control interiors for the masses - can no longer accommodate public life and shelter from the tumultuous environments. Public interiors are interwoven with the contemporary city. They transcend the street's hyper-sensory experience into mass transit systems, skyscraper lobbies, office buildings, subterranean passages, multi-layered shopping malls, theaters, gyms, restaurants, and other shared artificial atmospheres.