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Boston, MA

Strength in Strategic Partnerships

One of the key components of the CRWA’s (Charles River Watershed Association) plan to promote sustainable watershed management practices has been the strategic partnerships that it forms with developers in the Boston area who share the CRWA’s vision of combining urban development with environmental restoration.  One of these successful partnerships is with Harvard University, which has been working for the past 14 years to foster a culture of sustainability and improve the environmental footprint of their campus.  Recent work to renovate and expand Harvard’s nearly 200 acre campus in the North Allston neighborhood of Boston provided a unique opportunity to implement these environmental improvements on a large scale.  This project combined with the creation of the Harvard Office for Sustainability and the CRWA’s Blue Cities initiative have created a perfect storm of green infrastructure opportunities to improve stormwater management in this former tidal marsh area, which is bordered by the Charles River on three sides.

Allston Aerial

This ambitious plan  includes decreasing impervious surface areas while utilizing grass swales and other natural systems to slow and reduce stormwater runoff.  There are also plans to daylight old streams, and line these with green spaces that will connect residents with existing green spaces along the banks of the Charles River.  New construction will be designed to maximize the capture and storage of rainwater and decrease water usage through a variety of creative mechanisms.

While this ongoing development is being designed by Harvard University in partnership with the CRWA, there is also involvement by neighborhood environmental groups, various state and local organizations, and the Boston Redevelopment authority.  This cooperative work by the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) and Harvard University on restoring the green infrastructure of the North Allston neighborhood of Boston is an excellent example of what can be achieved by two organizations highly committed to developing sustainable solutions for the urban areas of tomorrow.

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