Sunday, July 18, 2021

Beach Accessibility in South Boston

 Hello all!


This week was all about beach accessibility (lumping in waterfront and public space accessibility), and the locations that we visited corresponded to such: Castle Island, Carson Beach, and Fort Point. You may be wondering what beach accessibility is. It can be defined as the ability to access a beach based on transportation, physical accessibility, and agency (willingness/feeling comfortable enough to access something). If Save the Harbor is to carry out its goals, it is important that the community feels connected to waterfront spaces such as the beach. Being able to actually go to the beach is very helpful in building the connection.

Our first day was spent at Castle Island, and served as an introduction to beach accessibility for me and my team. We walked around the area and made observations based on its accessibility. Who was there? How could you get there? What draws people here, and what might keep people from coming? These were all questions that I found myself reflecting on throughout the day. When it comes to my own accessibility to the area, it isn’t great. I live in Jamaica Plain, so it is not easy for me to get to South Boston without a car. It is a long commute on the T, and Castle Island is on the far side of Southie, making it even more difficult of a place to get to. I suppose that living with the issue helps me understand it better.

We visited Carson Beach on the next day, where we had a conversation to further explore what beach accessibility exactly is. We discussed the accessibility of that location, and concluded that it is one of the more accessible beaches in the Boston area. However, a survey with a beach visitor from Brighton reminded us that it is not easy to get to if you live in a neighborhood far from Southie. She was very kind and friendly, and I appreciated the outside data! Exploring the beach also yielded discovery of many animal tracks. I love animals and their tracks are always fascinating, even if most of the ones I found were the familiar footsteps of dogs. Dogs are wonderful and we have been seeing so many throughout our explorations of Boston!

Speaking of dogs, our visit to Fort Point led to me and my coworker Hope meeting one of the softest dogs that I have ever had the joy to pet. He was a small lad named Gus, looked a bit like a pomeranian, and was delightfully licky when we first greeted him. Doggie kisses always make me happy. The weather was very nice that day, and I was glad to spend the beginning of it on the Green Way. It was a perfect choice, and we got right into discussing the importance of public space and what we would like to see from it. We ended up creating a survey about the accessibility of public space and what people appreciate about it or want to change about it. It is intended to be taken by members of the Boston community, and I hope we get to see it in action! Boston’s public spaces are a true gem in America’s urban landscapes, but I don’t always feel like the needs and desires of the public are taken into consideration when they are created and maintained. Hopefully this survey will help to change that.


See you next time!





Animal tracks on Carson Beach. They looked too big to be from a squirrel, so perhaps they were from a rabbit?


Public art on the Green Way.


Part of an untitled public art installation near the New England Aquarium. There are four of these structures, and I like to call them "The Computers."


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