Draw Seven Park – Resilient Waterfront Park Design and Revitalization

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) selected Weston & Sampson to develop major improvements to Draw Seven Park in Somerville. Our interdisciplinary team is currently providing urban design/landscape architecture, sustainability/resiliency, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, waterfront engineering, utility infrastructure, environmental permitting, architecture, facilities planning, public participation, and cultural resource planning services to redesign and revitalize this waterfront space into a climate-resilient park.

Given the park’s location near the confluence of the Malden and Mystic Rivers and the Assembly Square neighborhood and situated within major transportation corridors, we are developing design strategies that consider the location and provide essential connections for residents and visitors. The Boston Harbor Flood Risk Model (BH-FRM) developed for the project indicates that the Amelia Earhart Dam located on the site will be flanked under future climate scenarios’ flood events and result in flooding in Cambridge and Somerville. Our team is using this information to identify strategies to mitigate risk, including elevating the park and dam grades to protect downstream properties, accommodate and embrace future flood waters (living shoreline), and design for incremental flood protection measures that may be implemented over time.

Given its coastal setting, the site subsurface is very soft, causing design challenges where grades are proposed to be increased by up to 12 feet. Our multi-disciplinary in-house team of engineers are creatively working to minimize long-term settlement at the site and its impact on existing structures, including an 84 inch diameter utility, railroad tracks, and the dam, as well as proposed structures including a pedestrian bridge overlook, boardwalks, and retaining walls. Our specialized design involves solutions that are sustainable to the environment and affordable to our client.

Key Project Features

  • coastal resiliency/sustainability design considerations
  • flood mitigation evaluation and strategies
  • redesign of a high-visibility signature waterfront park
  • ADA accessibility & multi-generational amenities
  • multi-use recreational field
  • riverbank repair/protection
  • logical connectivity
  • performance & shelter spaces
  • community outreach & engagement


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