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 assessment/remediation, permitting, architecture, facilities planning, public participation, and cultural resource planning services to redevelop this high-visibility 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. Our specialized design involves multi-disciplinary collaboration with our in-house coastal/infrastructure resiliency experts, representatives from DCR, and key project stakeholders. Together, we are working to establish an appropriate and highly sustainable armature between park and water that responds to climatic conditions/changes and corrects the chronic, periodic loss of riverbank. It is important to note that, prior to site design, our team also conducted environmental assessment and remediation of legacy impacts.

To enhance this riparian park, project goals include a living shoreline, improved park footprint/layout, updated amenities and utilities, logical connectivity, ADA accessibility, multi-generational features, and creative yet sustainable design solutions. In addition, our work includes minimizing long-term settlement at the site and its impact on existing structures and conducting an extensive public outreach and engagement program.

Given its location, Draw Seven Park is vulnerable to flooding based on the Boston Harbor Flood Risk Model (BH-FRM) developed by Woods Hole Group. The BH-FRM results indicate 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. Weston & Sampson is working together with our subconsultant Woods Hole Group to develop BH-FRM flood vulnerability design criteria, including annual flood probability, flood depths, residence times, and flood pathways for present, 2030, and 2070 time horizons. Our team is using this information to identify strategies to mitigate risk, including elevating the park 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.

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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