Author: Fani Christina Papadopoulou
Function: landscape urbanism
Site location: Boston Harbor Islands
Institution: Harvard Graduate School of Design
Brief description of the project: What does it mean to plan an “innovation district” in a city like Boston?
According to the city of Boston:
“The Innovation District is Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s initiative to transform 1,000 acres of the South Boston waterfront into an urban environment that fosters innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship. From a tech meetup at a coworking space to an art exhibition opening, to the launch of a new start-up or a special chef’s event at a local restaurant, the Innovation District is expanding quickly.
The Innovation District is nestled between Boston’s transportation gateways: abutting historic Boston Harbor, adjacent to Logan International Airport, and at the nexus of two major interstate highways. It also contains the largest tract of underdeveloped land in the city of Boston, and is an area with opportunity for growth, a strong existing knowledge base, and the ideal location for producing new ideas, new services and new products.”
The thesis of the “Archipelago of Constellations”:
There is underutilized capital to be found in the island complex in the Boston Harbor. The islands are astonishing resources, in terms of their natural resistance to flooding,the existing infrastructure and their diverse landscapes and ecosystems. There is also underutilized capital in Columbia Point, where UMass Boston is situated, an educational institution that can serve as a radiant anchor node to a network of uses and programmatic developments. Not to mention the human and financial capital that goes along with major educational and financial institutions.
The problem of underutilized resources goes hand in hand with the lack of a proper transportation and infrastructural system to connect the islands to the mainland. The result is that the islands are only employed as a tourist attraction.
-Activate the Islands: Programmaticaly enhance them according to their current state of infrastructure, position and natural resources. Long Island becomes the main node on the sea, with a strong pole forming on Thomson as well, complete with housing, retail and limited office space. Spectacle becomes a tourist attraction and celebrates its artificial nature by forming the “Twin Peaks” of Boston, providing astonishing views to the rest of the Archipelago. Lovells and Gallops become parks, with hiking paths and recreational activities, while Georges Island gets a tourist importance thanks to the relics of a fortress.
-Regenerate and enhance the mainland “Anchor Node” by densifying housing units and educational facilities on Columbia Point. Encourage offices and corporations to relocate and establish offices next to the university.
-Connect the network: Transportation will play a key role in the project’s success, both in terms of connecting all the nodes of the Archipelago with the mainland “Anchor”, but also in terms of connecting the city of Boston with Columbia Point. A ferry network is established, with main Terminal on Columbia Point, Long and Thomson Islands, that runs 24/7 every 30 minutes. In conjunction with a new T station to the Terminal on Columbia Point, a network is formed
City and date of birth: Athens, 26 April 1990
Tutors: Adriaan Geuze, Daniel Vasini