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Boston Public Library

700 Boylston Street

Rabb Hall, Lower Level, Johnson Building

Boston, MA 02116

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An open space vision for Boston’s future

“Breathing Room: Mapping Boston’s Green Spaces,” an exhibition now on view at the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library, presents an array of historical maps that display Boston’s great tradition of understanding open space as a vital resource for the city and for the region. These 19th century green spaces by the first American landscape architects were created to be functional and beautiful and endure as beloved parks today; landscapes that create wonderful individual moments and work in a system. Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace cleaned a polluted river and famously created a connected series of neighborhood parks in so doing, and is still a model for cities near and far. Charles Eliot’s 1893 “Map of the Metropolitan District of Boston” looked to the region, laying out a vision for natural “reservations,” policy, and funding that crossed municipal boundaries. This vision established Revere Beach, Middlesex Fells, and the Blue Hills (among others); today’s DCR and the Trustees, and together restored a variety of New England natural areas, offering an antidote to Boston’s explosive 19th century growth. In partnership with the Leventhal Center, the Boston Society of Landscape Architects and NBBJ are hosting a conversation to discuss and debate what our priorities should be as we build upon this legacy and look ahead.

Access. Equity. Climate Change. As Boston grapples with the pressing issues of our time, it is essential to recognize the critical role landscape plays in the creation of resilient places. Boston is experiencing higher seas, warmer temperatures, and stronger storms. As they accommodate more water and heat, today’s landscapes must be both functional and beautiful.

The direct connection between health and access to green space has been clearly demonstrated, too. Carefully designed open spaces promote well-being that, in turn, help citizens become resilient. How can we integrate public health policy and design to encourage urban resilience and ensure the benefits of outdoor space are maximized?

Is it time for a Sapphire Necklace?

Christopher Cook, Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space & Parks Commissioner, City of Boston, will welcome our speakers. The discussion will be moderated by Dante Ramos, Ideas editor at The Boston Globe.

Panelists include: Kalila Barnett, Climate Resilience Program Officer, Barr FoundationBryna Lipper, Loeb Fellow, Harvard Graduate School of Design, and former Senior Vice President, Chief Resilience Advisor, and Cofounder, 100 Resilient Cities, Rockefeller Foundation Chris Reed, ASLA, Founder and Director, Stoss Landscape Urbanism; Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design • Brian Swett, Director, Cities and Sustainable Real Estate, Arup • Ellen Watts, AIA, Principal and Co-Founder, Architerra, Inc.

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Boston Public Library

700 Boylston Street

Rabb Hall, Lower Level, Johnson Building

Boston, MA 02116

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