Building resilience in East Boston

Growing from work begun at the 2014 ABX Living with Water design charrette, the CDRC is leading a group of six “Huxtable Fellows” from the Boston Architectural College in collaboration with NOAH (the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing, an East Boston-based CDC) and ULI Boston (the Urban Land Institute) in community supported resiliency planning in East Boston.  NOAH and ULI are working together this year on a Kresge Foundation-funded initiative to help this neighborhood prepare for climate change and sea level rise, especially recognizing shared, community-scale infrastructure and long term vision.  The CDRC/Huxtable work joins this effort at the immediate, grassroots scale.  With a particular focus on one- to four-unit wood frame and masonry structures, the undergraduate and graduate students are creating analytical maps to see which areas are most vulnerable to rising seas, and then going out in the field to survey buildings and talk with residents and small business owners.

The Huxtables are talking with renters and owners, builders and real estate agents, youth and the elderly to develop a personal as well as analytical understanding of neighborhood needs and priorities.  Ultimately, they will create a menu of actions that residents can take TODAY to make their homes and businesses more resilient in the face of sea level rise, extreme heat and cold: the extreme weather associated with climate change.

Please join us as the Huxtables share drafts in a community workshop: 

6pm, June 10, 2015 at the East Boston branch library.

This is funded in part by the BSA Foundation.

2015-03-13 12.56.05 photo5 eastie_banner_500

Celebrate Shirley Ave

The mural is complete!  The new Shirley Avenue gateway now has its first permanent piece.

Please join us as we celebrate the lively and diverse people and businesses of Shirley Avenue with mural artist (and resident) Alex Gerasav, the Neighborhood Developers, and the City of Revere.

Saturday, July 12, 2014, 2-5pm.  Next to the Revere Beach MBTA station.  Free & open to all.

Thank you to the dozens of residents who shared ideas, feedback, and paintbrush skills, and to the local businesses and the Revere Cultural Council who made this possible.

What Will Your Garden Grow?

The CDRC continues our FIT CITY work as we help our neighbors on Woolson  Street in Mattapan plan a new community garden.  At a public meeting in January, the neighborhood voiced strong support for a community garden at the city-owned vacant lot at 44 Woolson.  In February, the Department of Neighborhood Development issued an RFP for a garden on that site.  In March, the Boston Natural Areas Network submitted a proposal in collaboration with Woolson Street neighbors and the CDRC.  While we await official word from the City, we’re continuing to work with the neighbors in planning the garden.  If all goes well, our team will be awarded the project, and gardeners will plant their first seeds in June.

Imagine.

This:

woolson street existing2

 

to This:

perspective1_small

 

What will your garden grow?

 

 

Egleston Square is Planning…

One story?  Four stories?  Eight?  Retail?  Residential?

At the farmers’ market, at neighborhood meetings, and at a special outdoor breakfast, Boston’s Egleston Square residents and business owners have begun discussing what they’d like their future neighborhood to look like, especially the few blocks along Washington Street.

Washington, Boylston, and Montebello cross in an industrial zone, next to houses, retails, and a historic district.  Should there be a zoning change, and if so, what should it be?

Join the ongoing conversation — on Facebook.

PJK School Yard

Existing view of the PJKennedy school yard, as it meets the Bennington Street sidewalk, East Boston.

Existing view of the PJKennedy school yard, as it meets the Bennington Street sidewalk, East Boston.

Over the past year, the CDRC has been organizing a big and growing group of collaborators to help the PJKennedy Elementary School in East Boston create a new vision for the asphalt that surrounds their school building.  The PJK is a Boston Public School, serving approximately 300 students from pre-K to 5th grade, most of whom live in the surrounding neighborhood.  This asphalt is at once playgound, gymnasium, auditorium, science classroom, parking lot, bus dropoff and parent waiting area,  as well as a neighborhood gathering space in all seasons.  In the future the PJK schoolyard will still do all that — but in much more appropriate ways.  Gardens are coming, too.  The PJK is a Level 1 school, among the top academic performers in Massachusetts.  The area outside the school should reflect and support the school’s wonderful internal activity.

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In fall 2012 and spring 2013, Boston Architectural College students met with students, parents, and administrators as they analyzed existing conditions and proposed a variety of ideas for the overall area.  They then “zoomed in” to design prototype benches, planters, and a big custom sign for the parents’ pickup/dropoff area, at historic front of the school.  The CDRC hopes to construct the first prototypes this summer.

Site Design web-6mer.

entrance cover

entrance cover

Meanwhile, this work was noticed by the Boston chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, who selected the PJK as the focus “ACE Mentor Legacy” project for the upcoming ASLA national meeting, to be held in Boston in November 2013.  There will be lots happening this upcoming academic year!  Find out the latest here.

June 2013: Preliminary site plan by BSLA volunteers to guide preparations for the fall ACE Mentor Legacy Project. Picking up on the overall organization suggested by the Boston Architectural College students, this plan features basketball and soccer fields, several age- and ability-appropriate play areas, and new planted mounds and terraces.

Renovate for Recovery

Renovate for Recovery

The CDRC is working behind-the-scenes to organize Renovate for Recovery — the architects’ contribution to a larger effort by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to provide free renovations to survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings.

If you’re a designer and want to get involved, click here.

If you’re a survivor or know a survivor and want to learn more about applying for assistance, click here.