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City and partners launch “Living with Water” competition at Architecture Boston Expo (ABX)

Oct 30, 2014

International competition calls for ideas responding to sea level rise in Boston

BLWW-logo1-(2).pngThe City of Boston, The Boston Harbor Association, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, and the Boston Society of Architects are pleased to announce Boston Living with Water, an open international call for design solutions envisioning a vibrant, resilient Boston that is prepared for end-of-the-century climate conditions and rising sea levels.
Launched today by Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh at the Architecture Boston Expo (ABX) to coincide with the 2nd anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, the two-stage competition seeks submissions from leading planners, designers, and thinkers that incorporate concepts and strategies, including Living with Water design principles that will increase Boston’s sustainability and climate-change resiliency. Selected finalists will further advance location-specific solutions to coastal flood dangers and rising sea levels that are beautiful and replicable.
“The Boston Living with Water competition is a call to action," said Mayor Walsh. "We are asking thinkers, planners, and designers to envision Boston in the year 2100. Our challenge is to evolve with our changing climate and rising seas. Our opportunity is to invest in the future and to become a more resilient, more sustainable, and more beautiful city.”

Competition details

The competition asks participants to focus on one, two, or three sites, but multiple entries are also allowed. 


This competition considers the challenges of adapting to climate change and rising sea levels at three sites specifically chosen for their vulnerability and where winning solutions could influence redevelopment activities.
Ranging in scale from Building to Neighborhood to Infrastructure, each site presents challenges that are representational of represent common urban conditions and call for scale-specific solutions. Competition solutions should address the unique aspects of the selected site while being replicable elsewhere.

  • Site 1: Building—Typical of the existing historic urban waterfront fabric of Boston, the Prince Building, located in the North End, embodies the challenges facing multiowner residential buildings.
  • Site 2: Neighborhood—The 100 Acres section of Fort Point Channel is representative of the large urban mixed-use redevelopment opportunities across Boston. It includes development sites, green and blue open spaces, multilevel infrastructure, and existing historic buildings.
  • Site 3: Infrastructure—Morrissey Boulevard, near the outer harbor and mouth of the Neponset River, provides access to Columbia Point peninsula and a range of residential, commercial, institutional, and open-space areas. It exemplifies the critical transportation infrastructure connecting Boston’s neighborhoods.


This is an open competition. Proposals from leading architects, urban planners, urban designers, landscape architects, engineers, academics, and climate-change professionals and thinkers are most welcome.


Spanning from October 29, 2014, through June 2015, Boston Living with Water is a two-stage planning and design competition:

  • The first stage is an open international call for proposals seeking site-specific planning and design solutions from multi-expertise competition teams. Due: January 29, 2015.
  • The second stage is a finalist competition for selected teams to further develop and refine their proposals. Due: May 29, 2015.

Jury members

Mikyoung Kim, principal, mikyoung kim design; Stefan Behnisch AIA, Hon. FAIA, principal, BEHNISCH ARCHITEKTEN; Kristina Ford, Columbia University; and Kairos Shen, director of planning, Boston Redevelopment Authority, and others to come.
For full details and to register, visit
The contest has been funded by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management and the Barr Foundation, and organized by the City of Boston, The Boston Harbor Association, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, and the Boston Society of Architects.

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