Union Point, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Elkus Manfredi Architects

Union Point is the next generation of a “Smart City,” located just 12 miles south of Boston on 1,453 acres of the de-commissioned Weymouth Naval Air Station, and part of the three towns of Weymouth, Rockland, and Abington, Massachusetts.  With unparalleled scale and opportunity that includes 1,000 acres of accessible wetlands and open spaces, and unencumbered development potential and proximity to a dynamic center of commerce, Union Point is well situated to connect to Boston’s urban core and offer a unique new metropolitan lifestyle with a mix of uses and a variety of choices – to live, work, learn, and play.  
 
Essentially a blank canvas, Union Point aspires to transcend the benefits and concerns of a “SMART” infrastructure and build a digital platform that enhances the human experience—to create a “smart city with a heart.” Guiding principles focus our efforts on creating a socially inclusive, accessible environment that offers economic opportunity, affordable housing options, and access to learning for all ages. Inspiring awareness and respect for diversity with a supportive and engaging public realm, buildings and open spaces will have areas devoted to arts and culture, community, entertainment, sports, industry, innovation and discovery.  The choice to communicate and engage with the digital landscape of information and smart living technologies will be there, but most importantly, there will be the choice not to engage!  
 
Union Point will be a place where inspiration and innovation manifest themselves in the urban fabric of streetscapes, parks, and buildings – a city being built as a laboratory for testing and improving our physical and psychological environment to meet the changing and challenging needs of the community.
Addressing the question of how to build a city that can adapt over time, one important metric, though elusive, is the changing trends in vehicular and transport mobility as they evolve over time frames still unclear.  We are designing a smart and adaptable infrastructure and street grid that anticipates transit alternatives, vehicle trends, and transformable parking solutions, to ensure we can deliver a functional yet human-centric environment for everyone as the city evolves. 
 
Building an open-source data-sharing platform requires careful management of this remarkable capability.  Creating a dynamic and scalable “campus” master plan of utilities and systems with a community of innovative partners can provide an unparalleled learning environment to leverage our collective technological advances, enabling us to reach ambitious targets for our sustainable future.   In the works are engineering efforts to establish the backbone of adaptable infrastructure components, from incremental Co-Gen district plants to serve the growing community, to a resilient and renewable micro-grid with robust storage capacity, to bioengineered waste treatments that fertilize urban agriculture.  The commitment to data sharing for the right reasons can provide the monitoring, knowledge, and control of our diverse community where energy peaks and valleys are choreographed to maximize efficiencies of the city’s consumption and production, leading us on a path to efficiently pursue carbon neutrality in the future, all the while being a universal model for the world around us.
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