Cara Ferrentino

2012 Public Policy Summer Fellows

May 24, 2012

Cara Ferrentino, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Graduate School:Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Undergraduate School: Harvard University
Areas of interest:Environmental Issues
Mentors:Vivien Li, President of The Boston Harbor Association and Keith Cialino, Doctoral Student, UMass Boston
Supervisor:Andrew Hargens, Senior Project Manager
Project description:Massport’s EP&D oversees the long-term planning and daily management of almost 600 acres of waterfront property in South Boston, East Boston, and Charlestown. During Cara's time at EP&D she became familiar with a variety of the department’s projects, but her work focused primarily on the future development of a 20 acre stretch of the South Boston Seaport. She investigated the relationship between a proposed roadway reconfiguration project– intended by Massport to improve truck routes to and from Conley Truck Terminal in South Boston– and the design and development of nearby parcels (currently dominated by surface parking lots). Her work explored potential tensions between Massport’s interest in improving vital truck routes with competing interests in facilitating the transformation of the Seaport from industrial to residential, commercial, and industrial uses. This project provided her the opportunity to engage with a variety of planning issues, including transportation, zoning, real estate development, and permitting, while examining the potential for pedestrian and bike amenities, maritime industrial activities, Convention Center expansion, and landowner and residential community interests to align and be of mutual benefit. In addition, she developed scenarios for how the roadway reconfiguration project could simplify the existing patchwork of land ownership and create more valuable development parcels. She also proposed several development scenarios, incorporating urban design considerations, and synthesized my findings and proposals in documents, maps, and images.

Cara says that my experience as a Rappaport Fellow at EP&D was simultaneously challenging, enriching, and rewarding. It challenged me to improve important skills in communications and graphics, enriched my understanding of the forces behind industrial South Boston’s ongoing evolution, and rewarded me with insights into the type of planner I hope to become. Without the Rappaport Fellowship Program, I’m not sure I would have so easily found as good a match for my interests and summer goals as Massport EP&D. I’m also very appreciative of the support of other Fellows, current and former, as well as program staff and mentors, who all provided helpful perspective on my project and on public policy work throughout the summer.