We envision the 100 Acres site as a living laboratory designed to blend boundaries between natural ecosystems and urban space, creating a new normal that addresses 21st century climate change. The basic premise is to form a resiliency district that fosters a collaborative approach to smart research, development and strategic implementation, thus reducing the impacts of climate change on the site and the region. Central to this vision is a three-pronged agenda:

  1. Establish a world-class, mixed-use test-lab destination at the center of the city where people will live, work, research, enjoy and understand life on the water.
  2. Facilitate and leverage development opportunity parallel to climate resilience and adaptation strategies.
  3. Create a hub of research-based strategy development to adapt to climate change that can impact not only this development but the larger community, region and world.

The living laboratory is organized around a series of scaled interventions at multiple datums designed to promote systems of constant inquiry by fusing well-informed research with resilient and feasible urban development. Three site specific adaptations designed to evolve overtime include:

  1. Resiliency Spines, comprised of A Street and a new Channel Line,
  2. The Research Epicenter and Datum Pavilions and
  3. A migrating saltmarsh designed to explore environmental restoration while implementing resiliency measures that create value and opportunity.

Change in sea level is inevitable and therefore an approach to urban living that does not have thresholds to protect against, but rather incremental adaptations for urban and natural systems is required. This accepts that there is street and building fabric which will likely remain above MHHW for a long time, but may someday be below MLLW. To address this challenge, we identified a number of phased actions with engaged stakeholders focused on a process-based mission of cutting-edge research and applied solutions.

The notion that a robust combination of good ideas and teamwork can result in a resiliency district that’s both healthy for people and the environment is indeed a great risk, but is equally likely to reap great rewards. The living laboratory’s mission is to create and define urban eco-spaces that support the City’s rich cultural history, strengthen its social identity and celebrate its long-lasting connection to the coast. Pairing the lab with a marketing campaign for greater public awareness will not only improve the health and safety of the community, but also promote investment in this test lab development. Information can be shared beyond the site borders to promote further integration of tested strategies by individuals, cities, regions, and nations.

This site will be a model for re-introducing natural systems such as salt marshes and aquaculture and an entirely evolved merger of urban and natural systems. Sea level rise will bring new opportunities to rethink and adapt our relationship to the water. The shape of the waterline will evolve from its current linear bulkhead to a gradually changing landscape with a focus on the water, the site, and strong connections to the region. The site will promote energy independence and a resilient culture, while allowing for strategic implementation of adaptation measures. There will be no line between the “former Channel” and the Urban Resiliency Test Lab.

Company Name

Team Member(s)
Arrowstreet, Architect
BSC Group, Civil & Site Engineering/Ecological Planning/Landscape Architecture
Pam McKinney, Real Estate Finance Advisor