Skip to Content
Engaging communities

Bringing New Life to the Charles River Basin

What if a piece from BSA Space’s NatureStructure exhibition made its way to the Charles River Basin?

On August 22, Galen Fulford of Biomatrix Water helped an enraptured audience envision what the Cambridge-side of the Charles River might look like if its hardscape sides were instead living and growing ecosystems. Once installed, the system grows roots and sprouts plant life three times faster than a regular garden might grow. While concrete walls separate the city from the water right now, by next summer there could be sloping greenery that acts as a storm water management system and habitat to local wildlife.

This floating ecosystem is the type of thing that would fit right into the North Point Swim Park that the Charles River Conservancy is working to install. The Conservancy’s Executive Director, Laura Jasinski, presented their vision to bring swimming back to the Charles. Beyond their once-a-year swim days, the Conservancy is actively seeking to connect the City to the water throughout the entire summer with a seasonal swimming facility that makes it safe and fun for all. And tying it all together, Pallavi Kalia Mande, The Charles River Watershed Association’s Director of Blue Cities, discussed their efforts to implement green corridors to treat storm water before it even enters the Charles River.

Such efforts seek to transform hardscape and even regular gardens into a larger part of the ecosystem that both enhances urban open space and works to help keep our water clean. Together, these three organizations are working to bring nature back into the city and make our waterways cleaner and more accessible, which is at the heart of the NatureStructure exhibit. The panel discussion was a great opportunity to bring the exhibit to life!

Image courtesy of Stantec.

Learn more about how the BSA Foundation is making an impact in communities, showing the power of design, and positively changing the lives of real people.