RisingEMOTIONS: East Boston Comes to the Greenway

On Saturday, the community came together at the East Boston Branch Library to unveil a new art installation outside the library on the East Boston Greenway that brings attention to sea-level rise and climate change.

Science has told us that Boston expected to experience damaging flood levels due to climate change by the end of the century. With Eastie being particularly vulnerable to the impact of sea-level rise the Friends of the Greenway, the library, and community members partnered with Carolina Aragón, public artist and assistant professor of Landscape Architecture, and Narges Mahyar, assistant professor of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to being RisingEMOTIONS to Eastie.

RisingEMOTIONS: East Boston is an art installation outside the library on the East Boston Greenway that brings attention to sea-level rise and climate change.

Using colorful ribbons to signify just how high flood levels could be along the Greenway RisingEMOTIONS was constructed in collaboration with community groups and is now on display along the Greenway in the front area of the library. Branch. The project seeks to pilot a new hybrid model that combines art and social technologies for data collection and visualization by which to promote equitable resilience and inclusive planning.

“This is really a special event,” said Rep. Adrian Madaro. “We in East Boston are really susceptible to sea-level rise, climate change and storm surge. We have to approach this issue and bring awareness to the problem of climate change through different mediums. Now, folks walking by that use the Greenway or the library will immediately be hit with this visual impact that shows sea-level rise is very real for us living in East Boston.”

All the colorful ribbons used in the art installation include writing from local students who express their concerns over climate change.

“Some of these writings are very striking,” said Madaro. “There’s a lot of concerns but one thing is for certain that an art installation like this raises awareness.”

Sen. Joe Boncore said the one thing that struck him about the art installation is that it has already made people think.

“The visual makes people think and when people think they talk,” he said. “And when people talk, taking action is not far behind.”

Professor Mahyar said the RisingEMOTIONS project will also pilot the implementation of digital technologies to gather data on public’s emotions related to flooding due to sea-level rise as part of the overall art installation. The goal is to increase the public’s engagement with climate issues and connect participants to ongoing governmental and grassroots efforts.Residents can visit www.risingemotions.cs.umass.edu/ to voice feelings about sea-level rise in Eastie. An excerpt of what you write will be written on the ribbons to represent different emotions.

“Please help us spread the word to folks you know in and around East Boston,” said Greenway Coordinator Michelle Moon. “Our goal is to get 300 hundred responses for the installation, and we currently have 75 respsonces. Please tell your family, neighborhood, etc about this project.”

RisingEMOTIONS is funded by the Friends of the East Boston Greenway and is supported by the Boston Society of Landscape Architects with scientific data provided by Sustainable Solutions.

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