Seoul brings water back to the surface, but Harvard doesn't

Back when we were spending more time talking about the ecological possibilities that could be part of Harvard's expansion into Allston, the Charles River Watershed Association, as part of their Blue Cities work in North Allston, and many others were enthusiastic about the potential to rediscover streams in Allston that once existed but were put in pipes below ground long ago.

Commenting on Harvard's IMPA in 2007, CRWA wrote:

One crucial connection that should be made explicit as a part of the IMPA is the Allston Creek corridor which successfully provides the critical east-west connection between the residential neighborhood and the Charles River. The current IMPA and IMP Executive Summary not only fail to incorporate the corridor as a part of the overall master plan, but are precluding the option of realizing this connection in the future by not preserving adequate right of way.
And this week's TAB reports on the design of Library Park and how, despite that "residents asked for the inclusion of a much-desired water element to the park, either in the form of a fountain or a stream, the current design holds neither."

All this came to mind this morning while reading in the NY Times about the success of cities like Seoul as they "rediscover waterways they paved over" and that "cities from Singapore to San Antonio have been resuscitating rivers and turning storm drains into streams". It would be great to have such vision in planning for our future too.

Library Park conceptual images from


  1. Who can I write to about this? If they keep asking for community input, because it's so important, why aren't these elements being incorporated into the design of Library Park?

  2. I guess you could start by going to this meeting on Wedneday that Harvard emailed about today.

    Neighbors -

    We would like to invite you to come and talk with us about the design for Library Park.

    We will be displaying the current plans and we welcome the chance to talk with you about them on Wednesday, July 22nd at the Honan-Allston
    Library in North Allston (300 North Harvard Street) from 3:00-7:00 p.m.
    We will be in the large conference room in the back corner of the library.

    We look forward to seeing you.

    Dennis J. Swinford, ASLA, AICP
    Harvard University, Allston Development Group

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