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Amendment Process Launched for Downtown Waterfront Municipal Harbor Plan

Mayor Wu also announced additional climate resiliency planning for East Boston waterfront.

Mayor Michelle Wu today announced plans to file an amendment to Boston’s Downtown Waterfront District Municipal Harbor Plan (MHP) and launch a municipal harbor planning process for East Boston. Since the approval of the MHP by the Commonwealth in 2018, the City has done further planning, analysis, and engagement including Coastal Resilience Solutions Plan for Downtown Boston & the North End, and the amendment will further refine resiliency guidelines and take into account additional public engagement.

“As a coastal city vulnerable to rising seas and extreme weather, Boston must be a national leader in driving a just transition to a thriving, green economy,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “We have to get this right on the waterfront and truly plan for equitable access and climate resiliency in these critical areas of our city. That’s why we are officially taking on our Downtown Municipal Harbor Plan and the East Boston harbor planning process with these goals guiding our engagement.” 

East Boston, an environmental justice community, is vulnerable to near and long term risks of sea level rise and coastal storms. The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) has been leading PLAN: East Boston, a community-driven, neighborhood-wide planning initiative that is creating a framework to predictably shape the future of East Boston. PLAN: East Boston is focused on expanding housing options that are affordable, advancing climate preparedness and promoting a healthy environment, transportation connectivity, and supporting neighborhood economies that meet the needs of local residents and small businesses. The planning process is developing recommendations that will shape the municipal harbor planning process, and codify and implement the community's desire for a resilient and equitable waterfront. 

“We must meet the climate crisis with urgent action through maximizing resiliency, equity and accessibility in Boston,” said Reverend Mariama White-Hammond, Chief of Energy, Environment and Open Space. “As our city continues to evolve, climate change and racial justice must be at the forefront of our development process. I am grateful to Mayor Wu for her leadership and for centering environmental justice in community planning. I look forward to the Mayor’s vision in enabling a strong planning process in East Boston.”

“A robust, community-driven municipal harbor planning process in East Boston will build upon PLAN: East Boston to create a predictable framework for future development that prioritizes equity and resiliency,” said BPDA Director Brian Golden. “We must work to protect the neighborhood’s residents and small businesses from the impacts of sea level rise and coastal storms.”

“Mayor Wu and Chief White-Hammond recognize that the health of our residents and our economy depend on Boston leading the way with community-driven resiliency and municipal harbor planning,” said Kathy Abbott, president and CEO of Boston Harbor Now. “Boston now has the opportunity to build an equitable and inclusive waterfront combining nature-based resiliency, good green jobs and inclusive public spaces.”

A Green New Deal city must prioritize investments in accessible infrastructure to protect our most flood-vulnerable neighborhoods, such as East Boston. The City has also engaged the Dorchester and South Boston neighborhoods to create a vision for a new, state-of-the-art Moakley Park that protects residents from extreme weather events while creating open space for play, performance, and community gardens. The City is taking action in other neighborhoods as well, such as the Langone-Popoulo Park in the North End and the Ryan Playground in Charlestown. Climate Ready Boston is the City’s initiative to prepare for the short and long-term impacts of climate change and is in various stages of developing plans for East BostonDorchesterMoakley ParkSouth BostonCharlestown, and Downtown and the North End.

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