Waterfront Planning

South Boston Waterfront

Much of the area now known as the South Boston Waterfront, or Seaport, was originally tidal marsh. Landfill activity was initiated in 1833, and the area became home to new land, piers, and channels. Eleven wharves—four belonging to the Commmonwealth of Massachusetts—were added to South Boston's port facilities. By the late 1880s, the Seaport was an bustling industrial center. As the industrial era quieted in Boston, the Seaport began to serve mostly as parking. However, the turn of the 20th century into the 21st saw a burst of redevelopment in the area, with residential, office, and tourism uses being constructed along the waterfront. 

The 1999 Seaport Public Realm Plan outlines the City's goals for activating and enhancing the South Boston Waterfront. The five goals of the plan include:

  • promoting Boston Harbor as a shared natural resource, 
  • preserving and enhancing the industrial port, 
  • planning the Seaport as a vital, mixed-use neighborhood, 
  • developing the Seaport as an integral part of Boston's economy, 
  • and enhancing the South Boston Community. 
The 2000 South Boston Waterfront Municipal Harbor Plan's primary goal is to ensure that the public has meaningful access to Boston Harbor along the Seaport's coastline. The plan outlines strategies to create a harbor plan and public realm more in keeping with Boston's urban character and mixed use economy. The 2009 amendment amendment updates the 2000 plan and includes information about the 100 Acre Master Plan.

For more information, please contact Richard McGuinness, Deputy Director for Waterfront Planning, by email or by telephone at (617) 918-4323.