News & Updates

Barr Foundation awards Imagine Boston $210,000 to enhance waterfront

May 13, 2016

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that Imagine Boston 2030, the city wide planning effort, will enhance its focus on the potential of Boston's waterfront through the support of a $210,000 grant from the Barr Foundation. The importance of Boston's waterfront - from its value as one of the city's greatest natural resources to its cultural significance, potential for economic development, and vulnerability to climate change - has emerged as an early theme identified by residents through Imagine Boston 2030's outreach efforts.

"Our waterfront is one of Boston's most cherished and valuable resources, and I thank the Barr Foundation for taking an active role in its future," said Mayor Walsh. "We want everyone, in all of our neighborhoods, to have the opportunity to experience and enjoy our waterfront and I look forward to enhancing these public places, while also protecting our city."  

In conjunction with HR&A Advisors and Utile, who are the lead consultants for Imagine Boston 2030, the City will look to define how the resources of the waterfront can contribute to the four proposed goals of Imagine Boston: provide quality of life in accessible neighborhoods; drive inclusive economic growth; promote a healthy environment and adapt to climate change; and invest in infrastructure, open space and culture. The baseline assessment and comprehensive waterfront vision will lay the groundwork for unlocking the enormous potential of the entire waterfront.     
While the exact areas of focus have not been finalized, the breadth of the assessment and visioning will extend across the city's waterfront from East Boston, to downtown, to the Fort Point Channel, to Dorchester, to the Charles River Basin.
"Boston's waterfront is a treasure," said Jim Canales, President of the Barr Foundation, "To preserve, protect, and enhance it for generations to come, we must embrace a long-term view and consider the needs of all of Boston's residents. We are grateful that Barr's engagement will allow the expansion of the Imagine Boston 2030 process, in order to develop an ambitious, responsible, actionable vision for Boston's waterfront."
Key interventions are required along much of Boston's waterfront to protect vital economic assets and communities vulnerable to the risks of climate change. The planning effort will evaluate how underutilized tracts of land on the waterfront can be transformed into attractive public spaces and serve as a catalyst for job growth and mixed-use development in a way that is sensitive to environmental vulnerabilities. The city and its partners will work with community members to chart a vision for enhancing common connections along the waterfront through a new network of parks and open spaces. Planners will begin the comprehensive vision by investigating the factors that control and shape waterfront development, assessing challenges and opportunities in the process. Particular attention will be paid to environmental conditions and vulnerabilities, market and demographic trends, development activity, existing regulations, and strategies for implementing change. Using the baseline assessment, the city will collaborate with residents, city departments, and other key stakeholders to develop a broad and compelling vision for the waterfront.
The grant from Barr was awarded to the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), which is coordinating an extensive team of city departments and external partners working on Imagine Boston 2030.  

"At its core Imagine Boston is about engagement and elevating the voices of residents in a conversation about what we want Boston to be in the future," said Brian Golden, Director of the BRA. "We have heard from thousands of community members since the process began last year, and we are eager to expand this work through strategic partnerships with organizations such as the Barr Foundation."

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