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ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE URBAN DEVELOPMENT


More information on North Allston Blue Cities® Work


“Blue Development” Goals for Harvard’s Science Complex in North Allston

Building a Blue Allston III Workshop and Community Forum
10/16/06

Harvard University's Allston campus Institutional Master Plan website

CRWA's comment letter in February 2007 Harvard's Allston IMP

CRWA's comment letter in June 2006 Harvard's Allston IMPNF

North Allston Public Realm Improvements

ESUD Project home

Harvard Allston Community Links

Boston Redevelopment Authority - Harvard Allston Campus Planning and Institutional Master Plan

Harvard University Allston Initiative

Allston Brighton Google Group

Allston Brighton Community Blog

Allston Brighton Green Space Advocates/Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation

Allston Brighton Community Planning Initiative

Harvard Allston Press Coverage

CRWA press release in response to Harvard's campus plan 1/12/07

Harvard unveils vision for campus across Charles
Boston Globe 1/12/07

Crimson plans could mean boon for green push
Allston Bulletin 10/26/05

Dreaming of a Blue Allston
Allston-Brighton Tab 10/19/05

Blue Cities® work in North Allston

Comprising over 300 acres of land, and bounded on three sides by the Charles River and its public parkland, Harvard’s Allston campus will significantly alter the upper portion of the Charles River basin, and the entire Allston neighborhood. Harvard has acknowledged the importance of long-term, large-scale planning, and of community participation, in the development of the new campus. Harvard officials have also acknowledged the importance of the river to the campus, and the role it will play in linking the two campuses.

There has been little discussion, however, about designing the campus to benefit the river and improve the environment in the area, and opportunities to enhance the public realm in the surrounding neighborhood have not been directly tied into the project.  A project of this scope has enormous potential to bring lasting benefits: more accessible, better-designed parks and open space; improved water quality; more sensible pedestrian and vehicular circulation; energy efficient building design.  There are risks, as well, and we must ensure that the river’s unique and historically significant landscapes are protected as the campus development moves forward. 

CRWA is working with Harvard University, the residents of the North Allston neighborhood, and the relevant regulatory agencies to support a campus and neighborhood that are “water friendly”. Our plan is to determine the specific watershed impairments in the area, identify ways the new development could begin restoring water and open space resources in the area, and finally to develop a “template,” or set of standard procedures and benchmarks for urban restoration projects.

 

 There have been three main elements of this work:  determining the physical problems on the ground, defining solutions to those problems, and identifying the political and legal structures that can be used to ensure that change happens.  CRWA has worked to understand the way water works in the North Allston neighborhood today, and has developed conceptual plans for integrated solutions.  We are coordinating with Harvard as it develops a new Institutional Master Plan (IMP), and with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), which will review and approve the plan. Our goal is to have the BRA adopt a set of urban restoration guidelines that will integrate sustainable water management and design as a part of its determination of adequacy for the IMP. Given that the BRA review processes will guide Harvard’s expansion, there is significant potential to leverage “blue development” as a means to achieve water-friendly buildings and neighborhoods.

Click to read  CRWA’s comment letters to the BRA on Harvard’s  Institutional Master Plan Notification Form submitted in June 2006, and our comments on Harvard's Institutional Master Plan Amendment submitted in February 2007.

CRWA has been working directly with Harvard University, other environmental groups, neighborhood groups, the City of Boston, and various State agencies as Harvard’s campus planning process unfolds.  We strive to see the new campus develop in ways that will bring significant environmental improvements to the area, as well as to support a broad and inclusive process for evaluating environmental improvements.

This project involves a great deal of outreach to various stakeholders, through meetings, letters, and one-on-one discussions. CRWA staff have developed working relationships with people in several departments and programs within Harvard University. We have also had discussions with staff and senior officials in the City of Boston, and have begun to integrate planning for water resources with the City’s Green Building campaign working primarily with the BRA and the Boston Environment Department.  Additional coordination has taken place with various state agencies and departments; since a large part of the park system on the Charles is owned and managed by the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), CRWA continues to work with the DCR to ensure that all potential issues and opportunities for open space restoration and public realm improvements are addressed. Through participation in ongoing Harvard Allston Task Force and other neighborhood meetings, CRWA has begun to draw attention to the North Allston neighborhood’s environmental needs, with an emphasis on the connections between water resources and open space.

With the unveiling of Harvard’s Allston campus Institutional Master Plan (IMP) on January 12, 2007, there has been even more attention directed towards the North Allston area by concerned neighbors and the press. From CRWA’s perspective, the IMP while addressing some water management issues, did not include many feasible and innovative suggestions that would enhance green spaces and protect the Charles from increased water pollution; for our press release about Harvard’s Allston IMP, click here. CRWA is continuing our work as a concerned player in this development process, and our work over the next few months will focus on making sure that the comments and concerns expressed by CRWA are addressed by Harvard before the IMPA is approved by the BRA.