Organized by East Boston’s Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH) and the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Boston/New England Chapter, the East Boston Flood Prevention Design Workshop brought together teams of experts and members of the community to brainstorm ways to protect East Boston from sea level rise and the effects of climate change.
The event began with a bus tour to three focus areas identified as possible entry points for flood waters: Jeffries Point/Maverick Square/Central Square; Chelsea Creek/Eagle Hill; and Harbor View/Orient Heights/Suffolk Downs/Belle Isle Marsh. Participants were split into teams, led by English-speaking and Spanish-speaking experts from the design industry, to focus on each area and come up with ideas to mitigate the impact of rising waters.
Teams regrouped the next day to brainstorm creative and implementable approaches for addressing the threats of sea level rise and coastal storms in East Boston. Each team then presented ideas to the larger community. The Chelsea Creek/Eagle Hill team, led by Bob Uhlig of Halvorson Design and Yanel de Angel from Perkins + Will explored options for protecting the city from rising waters along the Chelsea Creek waterfront.
Some of the solutions proposed by the team included: creating a continuous harborwalk experience along Chelsea Creek; extending the urban wild along the river by creating a living shoreline; applying creative stormwater infrastructure along Condor Street; working with businesses on resiliency improvements to protect their buildings; and consolidating the tank farm away from the river and protecting it with berms.
After the bombogenesis storms that impacted the city last winter, NOAH’s goal for this workshop was to bring together the diverse community with design professionals in order to create a shared and inclusive vision for protecting East Boston from sea level rise and coastal storm flooding though design concepts that could be budgeted to protect and benefit the entire neighborhood. A summary document from this workshop will be released by NOAH.