East Boston – Climate Resilient Coastal Waterfront Design

The East Boston waterfront has experienced rapid transformation due to recent development as well as an increase in flooding. In particular, the areas around Carlton Wharf and Lewis Mall were identified as near-term flood pathways through the City of Boston’s Climate Ready Boston initiative in 2017. Weston & Sampson was selected as part of a team to develop design options that advance flood protection along parts of the East Boston waterfront while at the same time ensuring waterfront access and enhancing nearby coastal habitat.

While close in proximity, Carlton Wharf and Lewis Mall present different challenges and serve as examples of different coastal conditions throughout the City of Boston. Both sites are near-term flood pathways that routinely flood during storm events since they are part of the waterfront’s low lying historic fill area. We developed several schematic design scenarios through review of existing conditions, engagement with neighborhood residents and other stakeholders, and resilience technical analysis. Each design scenario considered a design flood elevation of 22.5 ft. that was based upon:

  • the most up-to-date coastal model for Massachusetts
  • evaluation criteria developed through Climate Ready East Boston
  • technical feasibility
  • public access and open space along the waterfront

The ultimate goal of the project is to develop practicable and replicable solutions that meet resiliency goals despite site constraints and create more equitable access to the waterfront. The practicable designs advanced through this project provide a basis to be continued through design, permitting, and construction. Our team’s efforts are critical to ensuring the East Boston waterfront will continue to serve as an inviting and accessible part of the neighborhood and also provide a buffer to the long-term effects of climate change.

Key Project Features:

  • climate resilience
  • schematic design
  • waterfront access
  • stakeholder engagement


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Posted in Industry-Municipal, Resilient Design and tagged , , , .