Synopsis: This is a plan to transform Revere Beach from an identity-challenged area into a coherent cityscape of neighborhoods that draw on the city’s history, ecology, and transit centrality. Revere’s reputation as a popular beachfront, ecosystem of wetlands and grasslands, and position as an intermodal transportation center factored into its reimagination as a community on the edge of Boston’s urban core and the Atlantic Ocean.
Detailed Description: To Bostonians, Revere Beach conjures images of a “North Shore” beach community and its varied inland landscape of sand, salt marshes, gently rolling drumlins, and grasslands. The land, once abundant with fish and game and inhabited by the Pawtucket Indians, was radically transformed with major recreational attractions and an amusement park in the 1930s and 1940s.
The postwar period witnessed Revere’s gradual decline until recent efforts to revitalize it. Its location on the edge of Boston and the landscape and its proximity to rail and major arteries give it precious development potential. Any transformation of Revere should be sensitive to the landscape and its ecosystems to honor its unique historical and current role as a place between places. Today it lacks a strong identity.
Building on the strengths of Revere’s history, landscape, and the infrastructural system is key to its revival. Integrated infrastructures and links to walkable public spaces will improve its function and identity as a gateway, destination, and crossroads. Filling in and extending street and block patterns to strengthen the morphology of the city’s working-class neighborhoods will include, rather than shut out, the broader community.
The following tactics were deployed to transform the Revere Beach landscape and re-invigorate the community’s economic and social development: A new intermodal station integrating multiple transportation lines, roadways and parking was created. A new neighborhood fabric was formed along Ocean Avenue by extending the street pattern of adjacent neighborhoods into this development area. Building a prominent presence on the waterfront is achieved through the dramatic design of towers (with commercial and cultural uses) sandwiched between the intermodal station and Revere Beach Boulevard. A new “landscape armature” extends along the north-south axis (parallel to the beach) and original wetlands with all significant new public spaces, courtyards, and neighborhoods.
Connections between the beach and the westerly neighborhoods are created by building a link over Route 1, a major thoroughfare, to connect the town center and a new pier extending into the water. The large strip mall south of Wonderland Park and its empty parking lots are converted into a more vibrant district with improved land-use efficiencies.
This project shows how to gradually transform a badly scarred landscape into a place where higher-value uses complement the scene’s reconstituted presence. The result is a new fabric of neighborhoods that reflect Revere’s rich history while serving as a nexus of activities and infrastructure.