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Lynn has designs on its future

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Arlen Stawasz explains the re-imagining of Lynn urban design.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN – It might be one of the region’s best known ditties: “Lynn, Lynn the city of sin, You never come out the way you came in.”

That phrase inspired a team of students and faculty from two architectural schools to reimagine the city’s waterfront from gritty retail to world class destination.

“Our students who came to Lynn from around the globe were changed,” said Edward Mitchell, a Yale School of Architecture professor. “For the better.”  

The Lynn Museum and MassDevelopment’s TDI Partnership hosted the exhibit Tuesday titled “Visions of Lynn,” a display of urban design concepts proposed for Lynn and the surrounding region.

The 10 students who worked on the project were asked to redesign the waterfront given that experts expect the waterfront will be vulnerable to 6-foot higher swells by 2066.

In response, the students devised a series of designs that  replaced stores with canals, green spaces that could be flooded but used when they dry, a high school, a water treatment plant, and a public safety facility.

“Rather than fighting to keep the water out,  the students propose that we let it in and learn to thrive with it,” said Arlen Stawasz, a Lynn native, architect, and teacher at Perkins + Will,  the Boston-based architectural company.

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Noah Geupel, a 26-year-old student at the Boston Architectural College, who helped create some of the designs, said while some of the proposals differ from a master plan done by the city a decade ago that calls for a mix of housing and small retail, they work.

A wastewater treatment plant may not be conventional and super exciting and there’s opposition because people think it will stink,” he said. “But there’s technology to deal with that and we see it as a public amenity.”

Bill Mosakowski, a former Lynn resident, said he came to exhibition to see what the city is up to.

“This was inspirational,” he said.


Thomas Grillo can be reached at [email protected]

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