Moakley Park Vision Plan – Climate Resilient Park Design

City-wide climate resilient design strategies along the South Boston waterfront

The City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department (BPRD) and Environment Department, as part of their plans to increase city-wide climate resilience, targeted the rehabilitation of Moakley Park as an opportunity to address climate vulnerabilities and advance climate resilience along the South Boston waterfront while improving opportunities for recreation and community gathering at this signature park. Moakley Park, a 60-acre public open space, is located across from Carson Beach and is increasingly vulnerable to flooding due to climate change.

The 2018 Moakley Park Vision Plan, developed by Stoss Landscape Urbanism (Stoss), presented concepts for a resilient Moakley Park. The plan called for the creation of an approximately 2,600-foot vegetated berm (levee) through the park that would provide flood protection, as well as increased public open space. As an integral project team member, Weston & Sampson is responsible for advancing the Vision Plan by analyzing current and future climate risks at the site. Our team’s designs must account for the challenging existing conditions onsite, including shallow groundwater, subsurface utilities, and urban fill overlying compressible organic soils and thick Boston blue clay.

Weston & Sampson supported Stoss and BPRD in their successful application for a Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability Program (MVP) Action Grant for the preliminary resilient design of Moakley Park; the state awarded BPRD the grant in July 2019. These preliminary design efforts included conducting a series of baseline environmental and geotechnical assessments to characterize the existing on-site conditions. Our engineers and infrastructure/climate resilience professionals are working closely with Stoss to substantiate the Vision Plan concepts and identify technical considerations to inform project decisions through a series of design charrettes. In addition, our geotechnical team is performing comprehensive analyses, conducting subsurface explorations, and developing schematic designs for levee construction. We are also working closely with representatives from the Boston Water and Sewer Commission and Massachusetts Water Resources Authority to understand their operational needs and identify how park redevelopment might affect their respective infrastructure in the area.

Going forward, Weston & Sampson will continue to support Stoss in the schematic design phase with climate resilience, geotechnical, environmental, groundwater, landscape architecture (fields), structural, and architectural services. With this resilient design strategy for flood mitigation, improved park layout, and revitalized facilities and amenities, our project team will help the city realize a new Moakley Park that is more resilient to climate events and provides a range of active and passive recreational opportunities for a diverse, multi-generational population.


MOAKLEY PARK Case Study APA 2021
courtesy of Stoss

Weston & Sampson is proud to support the City of Boston and lead consultant Stoss Landscape Urbanism with advancing climate resilience along the South Boston waterfront, and improving community opportunities at Moakley Park. This video, produced by Stoss, details the design process, and collaborative nature of the project. Julie Eaton Ernst, PE details the technical assessments and subsurface investigations that informed design considerations for resiliency improvements.

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Posted in Climate Resilience, Geotechnical, Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness, Resilient Design and tagged , , , , .