Last modified: Thursday, November 12, 2009 11:19 PM EST
Native Lynner's contest concept a radical remake of Shore Drive
By Laura Paine / For The ItemLYNN - In the 1800s, Charles Elliot was commissioned by the MDC to design the land of Revereand Lynn Beach in a way that would enable the public to make the best use of the area, so heturned them into recreational destinations.At the time, those in the medical field commonly believed that being exposed to the ocean andthe salt air helped to promote good health and aided healing. Over the years, the original purposeof the shore has seemingly been forgotten, disturbed by the sounds of traffic and the air pollutioncars create.Lynn resident and architect Aikaterini Panagiotakis has entered the Human Cities "Places to Be"competition and is looking to recreate the oceanside sanctuary by redirecting traffic from LynnShore Drive to Lewis and Broad streets, thereby alleviating traffic congestion next to theboardwalk and reviving the businesses in the area."My philosophy is architecture is meant for the enjoyment of humanity and the admiration of theenvironment to its best and healthiest use," Panagiotakis said.Panagiotakis first heard about the competition when The Boston Society of Architects announced acall for entries. Human Cities is a European network of creative cities which offers a series of innovative views and contributions to the public space and urban areas which are emerging moreas a field of creative intervention and collaboration between everyone from artists and architectsto sociologists, writers and philosophers. The network holds the competition to address the designmultiple and multicultural facets of "urban fabric," which is used as the main theme for the HumanCities Call for Entries.Panagiotakis' concept would turn Lynn Shore Drive into a park reservation, reducing vehiculartraffic by creating a one-way street and turning much of the pavement into grassy fields. Sheproposes placing a gazebo on the now-empty platform, an amphitheater on the natural hillside, anarboretum playground with swing sets, basketball courts, a 'Learning Cottage,' public restroomsand an area for local art vendors."Being born and raised in Lynn... the idea and love for this city was always inherent within mesince I was a child. I've always admired Lynn's beauty in the downtown area, beach, beautifulbuildings and homes, history, accomplishments and the people that surrounded me. At some pointin my childhood, the old neighborhood declined. I studied maps in hope to improve them," saidPanagiotakis, who always finds herself pulled to Lynn beach."The beauty of the ocean in calm or storm was always captivating, but being there, I was simplyannoyed with the noise of cars, with loudness of different tunes blaring by, or with the trouble of crossing the street, and disorientation of a beautiful place. I felt although it is in Lynn, it wasn'tfostered by Lynn. This place doesn't belong to the cars, or the convenience of a drive by, itbelongs to society."Panagiotakis has made an effort to talk to the Mayor's office as well as the Department of PublicWorks and the state's Department of Conservation and Recreation about her ideas. Now that thecity's election is over, she will reintroduce her plan, which she says has a low-cost strategy withgreat environmental impact.