As we long for the arrival of warmer weather and longer daylight hours ,we also remember that the Charles River Esplanade will soon be flooded with runners, cyclists, kayakers, rowers, strollers, sunbathers, performers and tourists. Because of these 3 million average annual users, our beloved Esplanade has been left in increasingly deteriorated condition. Earlier this month however, The Esplanade Association (TEA) presented their vision for the future of the park, entitled Esplanade 2020: A Vision for the Future.
In collaboration with the Department of Conservation and Recreation, this vision highlights and prioritizes park improvements, with the fundamental goal of keeping the park rooted in its nineteenth century origins, while addressing the needs of the contemporary public. TEA identifies lacking resources, deferred maintenance, and high usage patterns as having worn down the park’s paths, landscape and infrastructure. They have come up with a set of guidelines that reinforce the park’s traditions, reclaim as much parkland as possible, make the park more sustainable maintainable, and accessible, and to provide modern facilities for modern uses throughout the year.
Because of the combined efforts of architects, planners, landscape architects, horticulturists, traffic engineers, environmentalists, graphic designers, and community members, this report takes you on a visual and informative journey from the park’s 19th century origins, envisioned by landscape architect Charles Elliot, to modern day challenges facing the park, with precedents from parks that have set new standards for public space. Challenges such as lacking flora and deteriorated historical features, pedestrian access, lack of park branding and signage, and public art and architecture, are highlighted throughout.
Over the coming years, The Esplanade Association hopes to increase advocacy for their vision, across the myriad of sectors that helped create it. This will involve Bostonians gaining support from our elected officials, possibly creating an Esplanade Conservancy, identifying short-, mid-, and long-term goals, and building on existing planned projects for areas bordering the park. If you would like more detailed information on Esplanade 2020: A Vision for the Future, or to lend you support, visit www.esplanadeassociation.com to view the full report.
The Esplanade Association. “Esplanade 2020: A Vision for the Future.” Esplanade 2020. The Esplanade Association, 9 Feb. 2012. Web. 24 Feb. 2012. <http://www.esplanadeassociation.org/projects/TheEsplanadeAssociationProjects-Esplanade2020VisionStudy.html>.
Rendering: Boston University Sailing Pavilion, by Frank Costantino. Courtesy of The Esplanade Association
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