For the greater part of two months, Arrowstreet has been engaged in a process of research, outside collaboration, and critical design thinking to submit an entry for the city of Boston’s International Design Competition, Living with Water.  Intended to catalyze an increase in the city’s sustainability and climate change resiliency, the competition challenged leading planners, designers, and thinkers to envision new solutions and concepts that promote our ability to live with water.

With an understanding that the solutions we propose today, may not be relevant in 50, 10, or even 5 years, Arrowstreet’s Living with Water proposal took a unique approach to the competition brief.  We envision the 100 Acres site in South Boston as a living laboratory designed to blend boundaries between natural ecosystems and urban space, creating a new normal that addresses 21st century climate change.  By forming a resiliency district that fosters a collaborative approach to smart research, development, and strategic implementation, we can reduce the impacts of climate change on the site and the region.

Central to this vision is a three-pronged agenda:

  • Establish a world-class, mixed-use test-lab destination at the center of the city where people will live, work, research, enjoy and understand life on the water.
  • Facilitate and leverage development opportunity parallel to climate resilience and adaptation strategies.
  • Create a hub of research-based strategy development to adapt to climate change that can impact, not only this development but the larger community, region and world.


The living laboratory is organized around a series of scaled interventions at multiple datums designed to promote systems of constant inquiry by fusing well-informed research with resilient and feasible urban development. Three site specific adaptations designed to evolve overtime include:

  • Resiliency Spines: comprised of A Street and a new Channel Line
  • The Research Epicenter and Datum Pavilions
  • A migrating salt-marsh designed to explore environmental restoration while implementing resiliency measures that create value and opportunity


For more information on the 100 Acres: Urban Resiliency Test Lab, please visit the website.


Topics: Resiliency