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ASLA 2003 Communications Honor Award

Inventing the Charles River
Author: Karl Haglund, Metropolitan District Commission
Foreword: Renata von Tsharner, President, Charles River Conservancy
Publisher: The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England, in cooperation with the Charles River Conservancy
Owner/Client: Charles River Conservancy, Boston Massachusetts

Inventing the Charles River envisions the future of one of the most visible and most frequented public spaces in the world. Extending almost nine miles upstream from Boston Harbor, the once-tidal Charles River basin is frequently called Boston’s “Central Park.” The book sets out the crucial episodes in the creation of this completely fabricated expanse of urban nature, the political battles and the large stretches of still uncompleted public space as well as the landscape visions of the river. It documents a course of patience and persistence for all who labor to improve neglected and degraded waterfronts in cities throughout the world. Three distinct, but connected narratives are entwined in this publication: an amazing collection of historical images; a full text of comprehensive, chronologically organized history detailing the ongoing evolution of this great public space, and a series of “then, then, then, and now” photographs documenting 25 identifiable places along the river, each with its own timeline of development.

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The Charles River Basin, westward view toward the new Charles River Dam (1978), the High Bridge (1955), and the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge (2002). (Photo by: Phil DeJoseph courtesy of the Central Artery/Tunnel Project).
 
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Schematic plan for the New Charles River Basin (Courtesy of the Central Artery/Tunnel Project).
 
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The Boston Esplanade, 1999 (Photo by: Alex McLean, Landslides).
 
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Charlesgate from the Braemore Apartments, circa 1920 (Courtesy of William Stokinger).
 
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Charlesgate from the Braemore Apartments, 2001 (Photo by: Peter Vanderwarker).
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