Transforming Urban Public Space: Addressing Climate Change, Accessibility, and Social Inclusion

Categorized as News from NA

Among the more problematic effects climate change imposes on urban planners are the challenges of creating and re-purposing public spaces that mitigate urban heat islands and alleviate threats from intense rain events and flooding while positively impacting communities. On October 18th, 2023, Boston, Barcelona Metropolitan Area, and Northern Virginia Regional Commission presented three different projects:


By loading the video, you agree to YouTube’s privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

– The Moakley Park Vision Plan, presented by the City of Boston, transforms one of its largest waterfront open spaces from a largely single-use recreational facility into a resilient and multi-functional community park. The project includes coastal resilient infrastructure, innovative stormwater management strategies, and biodiverse planting.

– The Avinguda del Vallès in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area; an integrated action plan fostering public transport and active mobility, reducing externalities and social segregation, and unlocking opportunities for urban regeneration.

– Crystal City in Arlington County. The recently developed Amazon Headquarters has a ripple effect of redevelopment through a new plan that removes hard boundaries between business and the surrounding community, between built structures and nature.

  1. Moakley Park Vision Plan:
    • Boston’s park revitalization programs address rising sea levels, incorporating seawalls, raised sites, and improved stormwater management.
    • Moakley Park faces significant flood risks, and the plan prioritizes flood management, green infrastructure, and barriers for a resilient landscape.
    • The redevelopment aligns with residents’ needs, emphasizing recreational fields and multifaceted usage areas, contributing positively to the community.
    • Moakley Park serves as a vital connector in Boston’s park network, and with the area’s population expected to double, the plan includes a mix of commercial, lab, and residential zoning.
    • The redevelopment is a robust public/private partnership model, aiming to maximize capital investments and attract external funds for maintenance.
  2. Stakeholder Involvement in Moakley Park:
    • The stakeholder involvement process started in 2017 and focuses on ongoing engagement, especially with local low-income housing residents, ensuring equity throughout the entire process.
    • Broad strategies are utilized to engage as many active stakeholders as possible, emphasizing the importance of continuous community engagement.
  3. Barcelona Metropolitan Area’s Vision:
    • The Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB) aims to create a human-based metropolis by enhancing pedestrian walkways, improving public transport access, and developing a bike network across the metropolitan area.
    • The urban master plan for 2050 focuses on polycentric development, reducing distances and increasing access to public transit and resources.
    • The development includes consulting with local groups and organizing events to showcase the positive impact of infrastructure improvements.
  4. Crystal City Project in Arlington:
    • Arlington County’s Crystal City project aims to remove barriers to accessibility and implement green building practices, especially around the Amazon Headquarters.
    • Sustainable mobility is a key focus, with plans to improve outdated mobility options and balance land use around the Amazon HQ.
    • Public engagement was crucial in the collaboration with Amazon, ensuring integration into the community and aligning with community preferences for a stronger, more accessible community.
  5. Integration of Climate Change Measures:
    • Both Moakley Park and the Barcelona Metropolitan Area’s plans prioritize climate change resilience, addressing rising sea levels, flood management, and green infrastructure.
    • In Crystal City, the project integrates green building practices to manage energy and stormwater while focusing on sustainable mobility and community engagement.
    • All three plans emphasize the integration of climate change measures as an essential aspect of urban development and community well-being.