Waterfronts and Coastlines: Imagining the Future

Welcome to Waterfront Views.

For more than a century The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) has protected places of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value across Massachusetts for all to use and enjoy. That stewardship has included strong advocacy for implementing smart public policies that will continue to protect these special places people love, and being a resource for information on conservation and preservation approaches and activities for its members and all citizens of the Commonwealth.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kathryn E. Macdonald/Released)

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kathryn E. Macdonald/Released)

As The Trustees continues its mission of preserving for public use and enjoyment these distinctive properties throughout the state, we are increasingly concerned by the dwindling opportunity for public access to the waterfront in our capital city, and alarmed over the effects of sea level rise caused by our changing climate and its impact on our entire coastline. Over the past three years, we have begun to identify land areas along the waterfront that provide the potential for preservation as open space, and which will be a critical resource in creating a more resilient Boston. As we move to advance our vision for increased public access, we recognize the need for a new channel of public discourse and debate on the issues around open space along Boston Harbor, and are now providing this forum for information and discussion.

The Boston waterfront is an integral part of Boston’s history, and an invaluable asset to this world-class city and its residents. But, as with the State’s entire coastline, it is under increasing threat of climate change and rising sea levels, combined with accelerated real estate development. Now is the time for bold thinking and prescient actions. We must take a stand for all of the State’s shoreline resources and create an open, protected waterfront that exemplifies resilient design, and an iconic presence that serves as a destination for all residents of the Commonwealth and beyond.

In the weeks and months ahead, we will be sharing a variety of content that aims to move conversations about the waterfront and coastal issues forward. We’ll interview community leaders, thought leaders and other subject matter experts. We will examine how other waterfront cities are making climate resiliency and open spaces a priority. We’ll chronicle the progress of our One Waterfront initiative for the City of Boston. We will learn how other iconic public parks—like NYC’s Brooklyn Bridge Park and the High Line, Washington DC’s 11th Street Bridge Park, and Crissy Field in San Francisco—are delivering on resiliency, sustainability, and accessibility objectives. We’ll keep you up to date on important events. And we will generate educational materials for schools, government and community organizations, among other content for the benefit of everyone who lives and works in this great and historic city.

Trustees founder Charles Eliot established our organization in order to serve the public, to save special places like the Boston Waterfront which could be lost forever, and most of all, to engage the community. We look forward to extending that engagement through this blog, sharing stories and ideas with you and, most importantly, hearing your voices. Please come back often, and let us know your thoughts, concerns, and ideas.

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Nick Black

Nick Black, Managing Director of the Boston Waterfront Initiative for The Trustees, oversees the organization’s plans to create climate resilient open space along Boston’s waterfront through advocacy and collaboration with private, non-profit, government, and community partners. Nick joined The Trustees after serving in a variety of roles for Hillary for America—Secretary Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Prior to that he served as a Special Assistant to Senator Elizabeth Warren, managing a diverse portfolio of technology, innovation economy, small business, and military issues. Nick speaks and writes about the need for open space, climate resiliency, and Boston waterfront issues.