East Boston Multi-Family

2 Shawsheen is a proposed new construction with 35 units of affordable rental and 22 units of affordable home ownership housing in East Boston adjacent to the Belle Isle Marsh. The primary design goals for the project are to create an environmentally restorative community that is respectful of its surroundings, promotes residents’ well-being, and creates much-needed affordable family housing. The northeastern part of the parcel is located in the flood zone, and the topography of the site allows for the southern portion of the site to be elevated out of the flood zone.

The two proposed buildings will flank a 50’ wide central open space split up into multiple landscape rooms that allow for flexible use and accommodate passive and active recreation. Working with the topography of the site and the existing flood zone, the open space includes upper and lower lawn terraces separated by a thickly planted slope, a shaded seating area, and a nature-play feature. The streetscape and building entries are designed to be pedestrian and cyclist-friendly, and ADA accessible.

In addition to the built spaces, the site has been designed to maximize vegetation and connect to the adjacent natural area at Belle Isle Marsh. The planting strategy will focus on developing site-specific plant communities to minimize water and maintenance needs while maximizing ecological benefits. These plant communities will consist of native (or nativar) plants wherever possible and will feature species with phytoremediation benefits to provide soil, water, and air quality benefits. Planted areas include a vegetated buffer around the perimeter of the site, a green strip along the public way, foundation plantings and building entry gardens, thick vegetation throughout the open space, and a vegetated stormwater bioswale.

Affordable Housing, Green Infrastructure, Multi-Family, Municipal, Parks, Residential, Streetscapes

East Boston, MA


East Boston Community Development Corporation
Joy St. Design 
Civil Engineer: