The Boston Redevelopment Authority sought creative solutions to activating the waterfront in a remote section of the Boston Harborwalk. They also sought recommendations for meeting the intent of state waterfront public access regulations in unique physical and market conditions. The Navy Yard had been home to vacant public spaces for years and creative solutions were required to lease publically accessible space and make developers involved partners in activating the waterfront year-round. The new public realm plan and recommendations for changes in the Facilities of Public Accommodation and Special Public Destination Facilities were created as a result of pending development of Pier 5, and within the context of significant neighborhood concern that proposed private uses on the waterfront would limit public use and enjoyment of the Navy Yard.
Challenges were met by fully engaging with a concerned and wary community, eager to ensure that waterfront benefits would remain fully available to the public in the wake of private development. The team successfully combined a destination-driven strategy with public art initiatives and wayfinding to create smaller story loops within the large confines of the Navy Yard, allowing development and existing historic resources to speak to individual “stories” with the Yard. New development requirements were also created to ensure a win-win for both developers and the non-profit public uses earmarked for ground floor spaces. These requirements made these spaces affordable while allowing developers to meet the Commonwealth’s Chapter 91 regulations regarding public access on the waterfront.
Praise for the Plan…
”…I am convinced that this combination of historical interpretation, creative programming, open space design, and Harborwalk improvements will result in a network of engaging and interesting year-round destinations for multiple and diverse audiences, including the residents and workers of the Charlestown community, visitors to Boston, and the greater public.”
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Phillip Griffiths, Undersecretary in the “Compliance Review and Decision on the City Of Boston’s Charlestown Navy Yard Waterfront Activation Network Plan and Water-Dependent Use Management Plan,” April 2008.
* Community Partners Consultants, Inc.: Susan Silberberg, Senior Vice-President and Project Director