STU 1211 / Fall 2020
Harvard Graduate School of Design
Critic: Danielle Choi
Railroads have been one of the most significant agents of the expansion of the American frontier and the growth of the metropolis, carrying materials and people while linearly trespassing vast, rugged geologies and coastlines.
In the inevitability of sea level rise, land use will change. Rather than becoming just another set of obselete infrastructures, coastal railroads can play an active role in the land's shifting uses.
This project envisions a post-coastal retreat scenario at a site on Massachusett's coastline centered around an existing MBTA railroad and the city of Revere's barrier beach, which is highly subject to inundation in the next couple of decades.
In this scenario, the barrier beach transitions from urban land use into a highly productive and community-owned landscape of shellfish cultivation. After the unbuilding of the most vulnerable properties due to their risks with near-future sea level rise, a landscape of labor emerges that relies on the collaboration of rails, water, and shellfish.
Shellfish aquaculture filters fouled waters and acts as a carbon sink, as shellfish leave behind shells composed of permanently-removed CO2 from the ocean.
The rail corridor acts as a spine for the movement of material and people in situ, as well as regionally in the exchange of processed shellfish, ground up shells as soil fertilizer, and byproducts to restaurants, markets, farmers, and residents.
This collectively-managed shellfish economy, serviced by the coastal rail and abandoned rails that the towns' industries originally grew upon, restores the reliance on the resources of the water and diverse social and economic services of the railroad. Simultaneously, the memory of Revere Beach as a cultural hallmark for the community is retained.