Q. Boston’s beaches, harbors, rivers, and islands provide tremendous public
resources to residents and visitors alike, but too often, many of these spaces
remain inaccessible and exclusive. How would you expand access to the
recreation, economic, and wellness opportunities provided by the city’s
waterfronts and ensure all communities feel welcome?
A. The success of Boston’s waterfront is not limited to the physical space but
also encompasses creating a holistic ecosystem that includes job
opportunities, housing, and accessible transportation. The first step would
be actively promoting the inclusion of publicly developed spaces in
projects carried out by developers and landholders along the waterfront,
which includes partnering with government agencies like MassPort. I
would also prioritize ensuring that residents residing in close proximity to
these areas, such as East Boston, have strong representation in
discussions, guaranteeing that their needs and preferences are taken into
Expanding access to the waterfront also includes ensuring that
low-income and BIPOC communities can fully participate in and benefit
from the promising future of Boston's waterfront.I am committed to
ensuring that our BIPOC communities across the city have fair and just
opportunities to benefit from the valuable resources provided by Boston's
waterfront, from opportunities. This includes a strong focus on job
opportunities and workforce development, ensuring that these
communities have access to employment opportunities created by
waterfront development projects. It's vital that we emphasize workforce
training programs and job creation to empower local residents. Affordable
housing options near the waterfront should be a priority, allowing
low-income residents to live in proximity to these valuable resources.
Efficient and accessible transportation solutions should also be in place to
ensure that all residents, regardless of their economic status, can easily
reach and enjoy the waterfront.
Q. How would you work with local and state agencies as well as residents to
implement coastal resilience projects that can reduce risks to neighborhoods and
communities from the threats of climate change including sea level rise?
A. I believe that environmental justice means having a focus on how
environmental impacts disproportionately affect low-income and BIPOC
residents. Climate justice can be a pathway to create stable union jobs
that pay living wages for Black and Latinx communities. Climate justice is
racial justice. While keeping environmental justice at the forefront, our top
priority needs to be committing to 100% renewables: divesting from fossil
fuels, converting our electricity to renewables, converting government
transportation to electric, requiring new developments to meet net-zero
emissions standards, and converting all existing buildings and
transportation to renewables.
At the city level, we need to double down on our environmental justice
investments by looking at what the city has control over: public
transportation, urban spaces, disposable good regulations, and building
energy requirements. First, transportation equity and reducing car use is
crucial. A free MBTA will go a long way in changing behavior and reducing
fossil-fuel pollution from cars. Second, we need to grow the tree canopy in
urban spaces and continue making Boston Harbor more resilient by
ensuring flood protection-- particularly in neighborhoods that have been
under-invested in. Thirdly, we need to educate the public about our
recycling crisis particularly when it comes to plastic. There is not enough
demand for recycled goods, and a very small percentage of plastics are
ever recycled. We can implement regulations requiring businesses to use
renewable and biodegradable materials like paper mache and glass.
Finally, we need to improve current energy requirements by requiring all
new buildings to meet a net-zero emissions standard. We need to convert
our existing public buildings to 100% renewable energy, and we need to
implement a regulatory timeline that requires all existing buildings to
convert to renewables.
These are just the first few steps that need to be implemented in Boston.
All of these initiatives and others should have a central focus of job
creation and equitable investment, targeting the areas of the city hardest
hit by climate change.
Q. Investments in transportation infrastructure and services are needed to connect
more residents to the waterfront — from parks and beaches to jobs and
opportunities. This includes, but is not limited to, public transit, pedestrian
access, bike routes, and ferry services. How would you work to improve
affordable access to the waterfront around Boston and beyond?
A. I would focus on public and low-cost methods to improve affordable
access including public transit and pedestrian access.
Q. Massachusetts working ports and maritime industries have a rich history and
have served as a critical economic driver for Boston since its founding. How
would you balance and support the existing needs of the City’s working ports
with the evolving needs of waterfront communities, climate resilience planning,
and the importance of expanding public access to the waterfront?
A. I would work to ensure that the needs of residents are represented in all
development conversations that occur with the owners of those waterfront
properties. There is an important economic role that the ports play that do
need to be sustained while also opening them up to use and access by
residents. Perhaps negotiating times of usage or designating certain areas
strictly for commercial activity and certain areas strictly for resident and
visitor access is a path forward.