Boston Celebrates Milestone in Charles River Rehabilitation

For the first time in more than five decades, Boston's Charles River has been deemed clean enough for a swim. The first approved community swim since the 1950s that was held on Saturday represents a milestone for the city's famous "dirty water".

"Swimming in the Charles River, like playing in the street, is something generations of Boston children have been taught will lead to no good. At the very least, to a tetanus shot," writes Billy Baker. 

"But since 1995, when the EPA gave the water quality a grade of D, the health of the river has improved dramatically, rising to a B in 2011, and now meeting the state standards for swimming most days of the summer. The bottom of the river remains a toxic mess, but if a swimmer can get in and out of the water without touching the squishy bottom, no tetanus shot is necessary."

"Over the past eight years, a group called the Charles River Swim Club has hosted a 1-mile race for elite swimmers, but Saturday morning was the first time officials permitted a swim to be held for the general public," notes Baker. "Getting the permit took six months."

Full Story: Charles River opens for first public swim since the 1950s


Brand new! Urban Grid City Collection

Each city has its own unique story. Commemorate where you came from or where you want to go.
Grids and Guide Red book cover

Grids & Guides

A notebook for visual thinkers. Available in red and black.

Create Your Own Paper Block City

Urban Fold is an all-inclusive kit that allows anyone to build the city of their dreams with a few simple folds.
Book cover of Unsprawl

Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places

Explore visionary, controversial and ultimately successful strategies for building people-centered places.
Starting at $12.95