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Boston Coastline Future Past

Partner Organization

Decordova Museum

Project Leads

Catherine D'Ignazio
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Problem Space

In a city like Boston, climate change is an encroaching threat, one that will literally move up the coastline as the ocean threatens to rise in the harbor and cover the historical landfill that initially filled out the city's coastal edges.

Proposed Intervention

Boston Coastline Future Past is a "walking data visualization" in which 30 participants trace a route from the Climate Change prediction of the city's coastline to its history, as a way of physically understanding the future and past of a city changing at scales that are difficult to see and comprehend. These virtual coastlines - prior to the land being filled in and post-Climate Change - are more similar than you might expect.

Social Impact

Along the way, participants wear stencils with messages of fear and hope, listen to micro-lectures from civic leaders about Boston’s past and future, and engage in a participatory graffiti project at the end of the event. This walk was produced in conjunction with the Decordova Museum's Walking Sculpture exhibition, and featured several guest speakers - performance artists, scientific experts and policy makers - who represent the future and the past. The stencils that people wore during the walk and used in the project are the contribution of artist Andi Sutton.

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