The City of Boston is home to a rich and varied array of open space, including large acreage parks, miles of greenway, urban wilds, cemeteries, golf courses, playing fields, playgrounds, beaches, pocket parks and community gardens. This green infrastructure is one of the city’s most valuable assets and integral to the health, beauty, and vitality of the city and the region. Open spaces serve multiple needs for recreation, conservation, cultural events, growing food, education, play, building community and more. Research indicates that open spaces play an increasingly vital role in helping residents create place and a sense of community (Soul of the Community Report, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation) and proximity to open space amenities helps residents lead healthier, more active lives (From Fitness Zones to the Medical Mile: How Urban Park Systems Can Best Promote Health and Wellness; Trust for Public Land). Yet, most residents and visitors are unaware of the extent and diversity of these public amenities: who owns/operates/maintains them; how to access and utilize their resources; how to get involved in activities and events; where to go if there are problems. While smaller, more discreet maps exist of different properties, there is no centralized place to access information about all of Boston’s open space assets.
With our partner, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, BPA is in the process of creating an interactive online map of all the open space amenities within the City of Boston and the region. We will include information that is of interest to the general public, park advocates and stewards, local organizations and institutions, decision-makers, public agencies, and many others. We hope the map will inspire increased, attention to, and knowledge of all the wonderful open space assets and their many uses and contributions to life in the city. We also hope residents and planners will utilize this tool for community planning and organizing.
The map will catalogue and host the following information:
- All publicly accessible open spaces in Boston by type (e.g. Gardens, parks, greenways, urban wilds, playgrounds, playing fields etc.);
- All public transportation routes, with identification of closest transit stops etc.;
- Click on icons that indicate primary uses, ownership, and relevant contact information;
- Blurbs about history and interesting facts;
- Links to organizations of interest to open space users;
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) is the regional planning association for the 101 cities and towns in metro-Boston. MAPC is a pioneer in the use of mapping to help communities undertake complex planning agendas and their Metro-Future Data Common site contains valuable data layers for the entire region. MAPC will design and build Boston Open Space Map with the input and support of BPA.