Resilient flood protection and climate change adaptation are blended into an urban waterfront. The harborwalk levee’s human-scaled descent into the water encourages a culture to “live with water” while protecting the 100 Acres and Gillette against the 100- and 500-year return period floods.

The plan’s grand axis in the form of a pedestrian way and park points toward a floating garden bridge, acting as both urban connectivity and drawing attention to the city’s waterfronts and continued focus on public transit. The park is comprised of upland and riparian biomes along a stormwater channel that constructs a nature-scape punctuated by amenities and utilities.

Design decisions were based on an accurate characterization of flood risk, developed using state-of-the-art, high resolution, multi-dimensional hydrodynamic models (ADCIRC) and sea level rise projections adopted by NOAA and the Army Corps of Engineers. Simulations were performed to define coastal flooding in time and space due to the full range of tides and the 100 and 500-year return period floods for current conditions and the years 2050 and 2100 and three different sea level rise scenarios. An analysis of flooding due to precipitation was performed with an assessment of conditions (e.g., high wind and snow) that could occur coincident with flooding and the effects of sea level rise on groundwater elevations.

The protection strategy elements are practical, affordable, easy to construct, adoptable elsewhere in Boston, and can efficiently extend flood protection to the Convention Center. Protection elements are: a resilient waterfront harborwalk; minor increase of interior site grade for significant additional flood protection and subgrade stormwater storage; collection and on-site treatment of stormwater using vegetated drainage swales; on-site infiltration and temporary storage of stormwater; and extensive greenspace.

The design was developed by a team of engineers, scientists, planners, and architects with practical implementation in mind, recognizing that implementation will occur through a combination of the Master Plan and building and zoning regulations and by addressing the issue of future flood insurance rates. The plan complies with current and anticipated building codes and meets typical private flood insurance requirements. The design also supports future modification of the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps to reduce insurance rates and building costs.

Company Name
The Cecil Group

Team Member(s)
The Cecil Group, Inc.
Steven Cecil AIA ASLA Urban Designer
Nels Nelson, Urban Planner
Josh Fiala AIA AICP LEED-AP Urban Designer
Adam Wynn ASLA, The Cecil Group, Landscape Architect

Consensus Building Institute
Carri Hulet, Community Outreach

GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.
Wayne Cobleigh, Resiliency and Finance
Daniel Stapleton PE, Civil, Geotechnical and Coastal Engineer
Samuel Bell, Hazard Mitigation and Response Planner
Chad Cox PE, Dam and Water Resources Engineer
Bruce Fairless PE, Geotechnical Engineer
Tianyi Liu PhD, Flood Modelling Specialist

Apex Companies, LLC
Richard Baldwin, Resiliency Specialist
John McAllister, Waterways Engineer
Jay Borkland, Waterways Engineering Specialist

Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates
Alyson Fletcher, Transportation Planner

Greenwold & Co. LLC
David Greenwold PE, Bridge Designer