What can I do to make my home more resilient?

We hear this question a lot these days. As Boston area residents learn more about projected sea level rise and related extreme temperatures, a natural next step is to turn to that domain we can (mostly) control:  our homes. Homes — apartments, condos, triple deckers, and the like — are the essential building blocks of our neighborhoods. And most were built decades, if not centuries, before we had inklings of climate change. What’s a forward-looking resident (renter or owner) to do?

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Our beloved BAC “Huxtable Fellow” students have been on the ground in East Boston the past four months, analyzing predictions and compiling research, listening carefully to residents and their real situations, and looking closely at the real buildings where we live.  In deep collaboration with the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH) and ULI’s “TAP” process, the Huxtables created a menu of actions that regular citizens might take to make their homes more resilient, and shared these ideas during a June neighborhood meeting.

See a pdf of their presentation here:  BAC Huxtables Resiliency Workshop

 

 

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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

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

Please join us – October 29, 1-4pm +

Calling all Boston-area designers, scientists, activists, and citizens —

Please join us for the CDRC’s third annual public design charrette at ArchitectureBoston Expo.  This year’s topic:

LIVING WITH WATER

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It’s a familiar refrain: if Superstorm Sandy had hit a few hours earlier (or later), Boston would have flooded all the way to City Hall.  Seas are rising, storm severity is increasing, and coastal cities need to grapple with an increasingly wet world.

“Living With Water” resilient design, popularized in The Netherlands and elsewhere, is part of the solution. On Sandy’s second anniversary, join us for a hands-on design workshop to imagine how a future, wetter Boston will be different–and maybe even better.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

charrette kickoff:  1pm

reception & team presentations: 4pm

ABX session SB2

part of ArchitectureBoston Expo

Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Hall C

415 Summer Street, Boston, MA  02210

Free and open to the public, but space is limited. Registration is required.  To RSVP, visit www.abexpo.com/exhibit-hall/design-charrette.  Architects may earn continuing education credits through self-report.

The LIVING WITH WATER DESIGN CHARRETTE is hosted by the Community Design Resource Center in partnership with The Boston Harbor Association and the Boston Society of Architects.

The CHARRETTE is conducted in conjunction with the Boston Living with Water International Design Competition, organized by The Boston Harbor Association, the City of Boston, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, and the Boston Society of Architects, with generous support from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management and the Barr Foundation.

The International Design Competition will launch at the Charrette — October 29 — the two year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.  Participants may choose to participate in the Charrette and/or the Competition.  Please note that registration two the two events is separate, and participation in one does not affect participation in the other.  The Charrette offers the opportunity for designers to explore Living with Water concepts, that they might develop in-depth for the Competition.  The CDRC aims to use materials generated at the Charrette to create neighborhood-based workshops in 2015, AND add another layer to the lively civic discussion about resiliency already underway.

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Both photos: Long Wharf, Boston, at “Wicked High Tide” — the twice-monthly lunar high tide, September 2014

Join us! Oct 29, 1-4pm+

Calling all Boston-area designers, scientists, activists, and citizens —

Please join us for the CDRC’s third annual public design charrette at ArchitectureBoston Expo.  This year’s topic:

LIVING WITH WATER

It’s a familiar refrain: if Superstorm Sandy had hit a few hours earlier (or later), Boston would have flooded all the way to City Hall.  Seas are rising, storm severity is increasing, and coastal cities need to grapple with an increasingly wet world.

“Living With Water” resilient design, popularized in The Netherlands and elsewhere, is part of the solution. On Sandy’s second anniversary, join us for a hands-on design workshop to imagine how a future, wetter Boston will be different–and maybe even better.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

charrette kickoff:  1pm

reception & team presentations: 4pm

ABX session SB2

part of ArchitectureBoston Expo

Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Hall C

415 Summer Street, Boston, MA  02210

Free and open to the public, but space is limited. Registration is required.  To RSVP, visit www.abexpo.com/exhibit-hall/design-charrette.  Architects may earn continuing education credits through self-report.

The LIVING WITH WATER DESIGN CHARRETTE is hosted by the Community Design Resource Center in partnership with The Boston Harbor Association and the Boston Society of Architects.

The CHARRETTE is conducted in conjunction with the Boston Living with Water International Design Competition, organized by The Boston Harbor Association, the City of Boston, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, and the Boston Society of Architects, with generous support from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management and the Barr Foundation.

The International Design Competition will launch at the Charrette — October 29 — the two year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.  Participants may choose to participate in the Charrette and/or the Competition.  Please note that registration two the two events is separate, and participation in one does not affect participation in the other.  The Charrette offers the opportunity for designers to explore Living with Water concepts, that they might develop in-depth for the Competition.  The CDRC aims to use materials generated at the Charrette to create neighborhood-based workshops in 2015, AND add another layer to the lively civic discussion about resiliency already underway.

DSC_5254

Both photos: Long Wharf, Boston, at “Wicked High Tide” — the twice-monthly lunar high tide, September 2014

Shirley Ave Gateway Starts to Take Shape

Over the past two years, over one hundred Revere residents have participated in a series of community design events to envision and start to implement a new gateway to their neighborhood — Shirley Avenue — a neighborhood enriched by the history of Revere Beach next door, and enlivened by the wonderfully diverse array of cultures present in local residents and businesses today.

The existing scene when one exits the Revere Beach T station gave no hint of the lively neighborhood beyond, while the chain link made it difficult to get there.

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The Neighborhood Developers initiated a project with the City of Revere to create a new, community focused, artistic “gateway” on the triangle of city-owned land between the T station and Shirley Avenue.  The CDRC led a series of community meetings to brainstorm ideas with local residents.  Landscape architects from the AGER Group have since developed these ideas into formal construction documents.  The project is now making its way through the multi-year process of city funding.

So we asked, what might we do in the short term to suggest that transformation had begun?

In the summer of 2012, the CDRC hosted two architecture student interns from the Center of Community and Learning Partnerships at Wentworth Institute of Technology.  Leslie and Michael analyzed the site, and assessed that there were vertical surfaces — the chain link fence, the bare brick walls — that frame the view of Shirley Ave.  These surfaces might be transformed as first steps toward the permanent City gateway.  They again turned to the community for input.  Residents suggested strong preferences for introducing art that suggested the cultural vibrancy of the neighborhood today, and that celebrated the longstanding connection to Revere Beach.

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Building from these neighborhood concepts, Nikki Murphy, art teacher at the Garfield Middle School, worked with her students to create an installation for the MBTA fence.  The eighth graders painted nearly 90 different “Faces of Shirley Avenue,” capturing images of residents of all ages.  This temporary installation was hung in November 2013, and, will be in place for a few years.

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Meanwhile, in the summer of 2013, 30 residents took a leadership role in the Shirley Ave gateway project by overseeing the process for a permanent mural. This committee managed community input, selected the mural site, held a call for artists, and chose local artist, Alex Gerasev, to design and paint the mural.

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The mural will be the tangible result of a two-year process that has engaged hundreds of residents in conversations about how to best represent their neighborhood at its main entryway. The mural design highlights the history, diversity and vibrancy of the neighborhood and reinforces a positive neighborhood identity. And the installation will repurpose a brick wall into a work of art that welcomes residents and visitors into the neighborhood and promotes the business district.

Alex Gerasev is an artist and graphic designer whose work has been featured in galleries across the US and Europe. He resides in Revere.

THANK YOU to the Revere Cultural Council and local businesses for providing financial support, and to the many many volunteer designers, students, and community residents for providing ideas, inspiration, and effort.

The new gateway has begun.

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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.

A dirt pile never looked so good.

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Construction is underway at 44 Woolson Street!  The City of Boston Department of Neighborhood Development has officially transferred ownership to the Boston Natural Areas Network.  Though it doesn’t look very green now, gardeners will  plant this summer.

 

For those who have been following this design process, you’ll recognize ideas introduced at the Fit City design charrette at last November’s ABX conference have made their way through to the final design….

 

Growing Community at Woolson Street Lot

 

A post written by our friends at the Salem Public Space Project.  Thanks for sharing!

 

w02 Collective social consciousness of waste, sustainable resources, economics, and pollution have influenced stakeholders to take a broader view of many design professions, especially architecture, which uses the greatest amount of resources of human enterprises. Indeed,  LEED (the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) helps establish standards of responsible resource making and gathering at the onset of design, while the temporal scope of architecture has also expanded beyond the finished building; design professionals need to take responsibility for the future maintenance and, even, potential disposal of the structure. Maintenance of a private residence requires the ultimate initiative of the owner; for public projects, the community is tasked with ongoing stewardship. Uncared for parks demonstrate that municipal trash pick-up isn’t enough. So, in addition to the materials, and the foresight, we need to also design for engagement; community building is a social and spatial problem, and creative design can aid the rigorous community organization of so many neighborhood leaders, activists, and planners.

w03SPSP was happy to be part of such an effort of Saturday, May 3rd in Mattapan in collaboration with the Community Design Resource Center (CDRC),  Boston Natural Areas Network (BNAN), the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition, and neighbors.  We were also delighted to re-use four bright orange frames initially created for another project.

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In tandem with the “Boston Shines” city-wide clean-up effort, we erected creative signage on the lot to communicate the message that the planned community garden needs more gardeners. Design for social engagement is a compelling design challenge; the project is often a temporary installation, with no budget, infused with contextual issues and histories, inherently political, that seeks to reach a diverse number of people in circumstances that often hinder civic participation. On the Woolson Street lot, while volunteers cleaned up trash and weeded around daffodils, we posted signs that signal the beginning of the transformation of a lot that has a history of tragedy, and a desired future of community, safety, commemoration, and beautiful gardens!

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If you would like to support the community gardens proposed at the Woolson Street Lot – support the project at Make Architecture Happen!