Historic Landscape Master Plan

John Harvard Mall

Weston & Sampson was commissioned by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department to collaborate with a diverse, organized, and articulate group of stakeholders and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department to develop a new master plan for John Harvard Mall. The Mall is a historic landscape and one that is much beloved by the Charlestown community. As this landscape matured from the original Shurtleff design, shade trees blocked most of the natural light, and brick pavements heaved and became inaccessible in some areas.

Our work included a rigorous public engagement process (multiple community meetings and ongoing community discussions) and the development of alternative master plans that were both sensitive to the existing infrastructure and mindful of contemporary uses and accessibility. Although this project began as a simple repaving of the upper terrace of John Harvard Mall (which had not been repaved since its construction in the early 1940s) in addition to the redevelopment of the playground area adjacent to the upper mall, the scope of the project expanded significantly to include the creation of an accessible route through the site and other enhancements. Our work opened up the front entrance to Main Street and activated otherwise under-utilized spaces. We completed subsurface explorations to understand the below-grade conditions and develop the most appropriate construction detailing for new pavement designs. In addition, we developed a number of pavement treatments and presented them publicly for feedback from the neighborhood. Tree preservation and the introduction of electrical service made the design especially complex.

Sustainable design solutions included complete stormwater capture of the first inch of water over the entire space through a stormwater design that incorporates infiltration chambers under the new upper lawn and lower entrance improvements.

Working with the local community group, we were able to fund the additional alternates of the project, including lighting the historic plaques and irrigating the new raised lawn space in the upper mall.

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Posted in Community Engagement, Landscape Architecture, Master Planning and tagged .