Ink Block Understory

Boston, MA

With the I-93 “Understory” project VHB took an extremely challenging urban environment and worked with MassDOT to transform it into a community asset that accomplishes important urban planning and economic development goals. Our team worked to redefine walkability and connectivity through targeted improvements, accomplishing the client’s planning, design and economic development goals. VHB led the design and planning effort, resulting in three new commercial parking lots with adjacent space for public realm improvements including artistic light structures, improved way finding and pedestrian accommodations, and sidewalk updates to reconnect the neighborhoods. VHB also planned and designed a new urban park celebrating the context of surrounding transportation infrastructure, showcasing innovative stormwater features, improving pedestrian connections to the Fort Point Channel, and incorporating new flexible community spaces that can be used for farmers markets, crafts fairs, and other events. These project elements bring new life to the site, enhance the pedestrian experience, and attract foot traffic between the neighborhoods, leading to a safer and more secure environment.

Pedestrians walk on the boardwalk at Underground at Ink Block in Boston. Visitors enjoy art installations at the Ink Block Understory in Boston, Massachusetts. Landscaping and stormwater considerations at the Underground at Ink Block in Boston.


  • Massachusetts Department of Transportation


  • Bikeway & Pedestrian Planning & Design

  • Drainage Design

  • Parking Capacity Analysis

  • Parking Studies, Design & Engineering

  • Site/Civil Engineering


  • American Institute of Architects, 2019 Honor Award, Regional and Urban Design

  • ACEC/MA, 2018 Engineering Excellence Award, Silver

  • Walk Boston, 2018 Golden Shoe Award

  • Waterfront Center, 2017 Excellence on the Waterfront Award, Park/Public Works

  • Boston Society of Architects, 2014 Unbuilt Design Award, Citation