Boston’s open space system is dynamic, historically significant,
and critical to the quality of life for its residents. America’s first
park, Boston Common, played a vital role in the beginnings of
our country, but it is also a neighborhood park with a playground, off leash dog areas, skating rink and tennis courts. The
Common is also a regional destination where millions annually
attend festivals, concerts, learn history and enjoy Shakespeare.
Its more than 600 trees and rolling lawns provide vital green
space benefits to an increasing densely populated downtown.
The challenge of balancing historical significance and aging
infrastructure with sustainable design and heavy use may not be
unique to our city. It is, however, the penultimate challenge for
our stewardship of Boston’s open spaces. The Boston Parks and
Recreation Department mission focuses on access, equity and
excellence- so that every neighborhood is home to beautiful
spaces that serve both the people and the environment.
This Open Space Plan (OSP) provides the Boston Parks and
Recreation Department (BPRD) an opportunity to assess Boston’s
current system. The analysis of collected data informs an action
plan that will guide our efforts through the year 2021. It will
inform investment, programming, operations, citywide initiatives, and evaluation of ongoing policy work. Through our
inventory and analysis of existing open space (Sections 4, 5, and
7) and our extensive public input process (Sections 2 and 6) we
found that the city currently features:
• Exceptional walkable access to our existing open spaces
• Disparities in the quantity and quality of open space available
to residents from one community to the next
• A treasured system of historic parks and sites
• Linear parks, parkways and greenways that provide a connective fabric through the city
In addition, three broad challenge areas are present throughout
the plan: Open Space Access and Quantity; Open Space Quality;
and Climate Change and Resilience.
Boston Open Space & Recreation Plan – Boston 2015-2021