The City of Boston is developing a new citywide Open Space Plan for the years 2015 to 2021 to guide it in this vitally important facet of our city’s growth. Early in the twentieth century Lewis Mumford, the noted urban development critic, observed that Boston's integration of the built environment with green space made it a model American city. Mayor Martin J. Walsh understands the importance that Boston's citizens place on this interplay of open and built spaces and our need for balanced development. That is why he supports this effort to plan ahead and manage our open space development, and assigned the Boston Parks and Recreation Department as the lead agency to prepare the new citywide Open Space Plan.
The Parks Department is working with other agencies and planning efforts to develop an integrated plan for open space protection and development. The Open Space Plan will look at all public open space, regardless of ownership, including non-traditional open spaces such as urban wilds, community gardens, cemeteries, greenways, trails, thoroughfares, and harbor islands, as well as the traditional parks, playgrounds, squares, and malls. It will examine open lands under private ownership, such as non-profit institutions, so as to understand their role in the citywide open space system. It will also look at the city's people to understand demographic and socio-economic trends of our residents and open space users. The Plan will identify play space opportunities for newly emerging sports and other recreational activities. We will seek public input on our existing park successes as well as learn about preferred changes and priorities.
As part of our data collection, we will systematically compile an environmental inventory to enable natural lands to be targeted for protection and stewardship in a priority plan. Urban wilds, the natural features of our parks, the rivers and harborfronts, wildlife, geologic features, soils, and vegetation will now be part of this truly comprehensive Open Space Plan.
Public participation is crucial to the success of the Plan. From May to October 2013, we have collected thousands of questionnaires, both online and on paper, to find out more about how people use the City's open spaces and what they would like there. We have also collected hundreds of comment emails.
The collection of questionnaires ended on October 31, 2013; however, you can still send us comment emails to let us know general thoughts about what you would like to see in Boston's open spaces.
The current Plan involved various community participation processes during its drafting, enabling the Department to solicit input on open space and its relationship to other urban development needs. Incorporating community input and intensive research, Open Space Plan 2008-2014 serves as a living blueprint to guide Boston as it evolves into an even greener, more livable city.
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