What is the Boston Civic Design Commission (BCDC)

What is the Boston Civic Design Commission (BCDC)

Building M site, red circles indicate trees slated for removal. 

What is the Boston Civic Design Commission (BCDC)

The BCDC meets on a weekly basis to discuss development projects and is charged with critiquing the aesthetics of proposed development projects and ensuring that the projects have a positive impact on the city’s public realm. 

Read more here: BCDC Principles & Priorities 

Who (is involved): 

When: Tuesday, Feb 9th at 5pm 

What (do I need to know):

  • Development team is seeking BCDC approval of Phase 1 design for buildings F&M. The development team last presented on January 5th and the Commission requested they return with a more tree forward design approach. Approval for this design phase has not been granted. 
  • Prior plan presented for Phase 1 called for the destruction of 40 of the 48 mature trees, 84% of the tree canopy in this area. 
  • Tree canopy across the site represents 10% of Charlestown’s tree canopy. Including all future phases, if design remains unaltered, will remove 253 mature 60-80+ year old trees, that is 75% of the 347 trees on this 26 acre area of our neighborhood
  • BCDC has the ability to positively impact the design process to the benefit of the overall community. 

Why (is it important to Charlestown and the you): 

  • According to the Climate Ready Boston Map Explorer, this area of Charlestown is considered socially vulnerable, prone to floods and is on the precipice of becoming a severe heat island, as it is surrounded on all sides by blocks of high heat. 
  • Currently, this particular parcel of BHA land is one of the ‘coolest’ sections in Charlestown and the removal of these trees will undoubtedly remove their cooling effect creating yet another urban heat pocket.
  • Charlestown is a tree desert, with one of the lowest tree canopies in all of Boston (approximately 11%) and cannot afford to lose any of its canopy. These trees account for approximately 10% of Charlestown’s canopy.
  • The wood of street trees stores carbon, while their roots and crowns support wildlife and slow rainfall, reducing urban flooding. Transpiration and shade from their canopies reduces temperatures in heatwaves, while pollution-trapping leaves lower the prevalence of asthma. (Ref:  ttps://bit.ly/2YZGSqY)

How (can I support/get involved): 

  • Register and attend the BCDC meeting. Strength in numbers! 
  • Share this with primer and the graphics below community members
  • Sign this petition: http://chng.it/MbW7rDmHgg 
  • Read https://bit.ly/2YZGSqY article to understand how we can learn from cities in the U.K. like London and Sheffield in undertaking tree preservation efforts.

Building F site, red circles indicate trees slated for removal.