Infrastructure includes systems that contribute to community viability including transportation (roads, bridges, walks, bike lanes, public transit), utilities (water, wastewater, power generation and distribution, communication, HVAC) and community systems/services (open space and recreation, food, emergency shelter and other human services).
As sea level rises, we propose a Layer District that leverages several climate change and living with water strategies to develop an infrastructure system where every cubic foot of space is productively contributing to a more resilient and sustainable city.
This proposal elevates Morrissey Boulevard in phases (via suspension lift bridge) to maintain north-south connectivity and function as the primary evacuation route from Columbia Point. Concurrently, public transit, pedestrian and bike way infrastructure will be enhanced and expanded incrementally reducing reliance on personal cars and ultimately leaving only certain roadways for use by emergency and service vehicles. Many of today’s existing roads will be repurposed as greenways as they become subject to storm surge and eventually tidal inundation and that include accommodations for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. New layered connections will be made between elevated circulation networks and buildings designed to support rising tides where lower floors evolve from shops and cafes to storm surge containment assets. A light rail will be phased through Columbia Point for multi-modal connections between the MBTA JFK/UMass station to the community.
Tax incentives will be introduced over time for developers who convert properties subject to flooding and inundation into protective saltmarsh ecosystems for flood and storm surge attenuation as well as productive marine agriculture. As parcels are developed, buildings that incorporate elevated mechanical systems and ground-level floors that can endure seasonal inundation will be prioritized and have permitting and mitigation costs reduced. Inundated areas will be dedicated to green energy generation for local distribution. Off-shore tidal/wave energy generation will be phased in as the technology becomes more viable while immediate incentives for solar production will be implemented.
Existing utilities will undergo infiltration/inflow mitigation to ensure immediate protection from storm surges. Future phases include trunk service utilities layered with the light rail system.
We envision a “community hub”, of several high-rise structures with lowest layers established above the highest surge elevation, located at the nexus between Morrissey Boulevard and Dorchester. The lowest floors will house public safety services for normal and emergency operation. Vegetative canopies and roof features will become more prevalent over time and phased development will include structures dedicated to vertical urban agriculture for a local food supply and potential business opportunity.
Stronger community connections will be developed through local historic and recreational features such as the Calf Pasture, Patten’s Cove and the Harborwalk, as well as legacy institutions such as Boston College High School, UMass Boston, the JFK Library and Museum, and the Massachusetts State Archives and Commonwealth Museum. The result will be a community consistent with the Columbia Point Master Plan: “A new, distinct, sustainable mixed-use neighborhood district . . . where both families and individuals desire to be because it is active, vibrant and unique.”
Spurr | Weston & Sampson’s Design Studio
Weston & Sampson
Since being founded in Boston in 1899, Weston & Sampson has been providing innovative infrastructure and environmental engineering solutions to communities throughout the Commonwealth. Our interdisciplinary team includes landscape architects, engineers and scientists who worked collaboratively to craft this submission.
Cassie Bosco | master planning, urban design, landscape architecture, representation, production
Cassidy Chroust | urban design, representation
Mike Easler | master planning, urban design, representation, rendering
Julie Eaton | geotechnical and environmental engineering
Larry Keegan, PE | transportation, infrastructure, utilities
Brandon Kunkel, RLA | master planning, landscape architecture, representation, production
Mark Mitsch, PG | hydrogeology, geotechnical engineering, vertical agriculture
Frank Ricciardi, PE, LSP | principal in charge, infrastructure, remediation, environmental engineering
Brandon Riley, RLA | landscape architecture, digital modeling, rendering
Cheri Ruane, RLA | project coordination, technical writing, cat herding
Anchor QEA, LLC
Anchor QEA, LLC worked with Weston & Sampson on water resources, surface and groundwater quality, coastal development, habitat restoration, and contaminated sediment management projects.
Erin Healy | coastal engineering