Green and open spaces are an important part of Boston — not only do they help clean Boston’s air, but they reduce the urban heat island effect, and absorb flood waters. Trees and open space are also exceedingly recognized for their public health benefits, from improved air and water quality, to creating peaceful places for Bostonians to recharge. Boston has long been recognized for its historic park system; however, maintaining Boston’s parks and growing the urban forest will take the support and collaboration of the public and private sector.
Expanding green and open space goes hand-in-hand with the expansion of access to healthy and local food. By participating in urban food growing, whether by growing food to sell; purchasing fresh products from a local farmer; or, growing your own food in a community plot or backyard, people can contribute to positive environmental, economic, and social impacts. Climate change is predicted to have a profound impact on the global food system. Therefore a robust, local food system is critical component of climate preparedness planning and expanding Boston’s green spaces.
Here are ways you can get involved here in Boston!
The urban forest is an important part of the City’s landscape. It’s made up of all the public trees in Boston, along with the City’s shrubs, grasses, ground cover, soil, and waterways.
Urban wilds form an essential part of the City's open space system. These urban wilds harbor native plants and animals, and perform a wealth of ecological services, such as storing floodwater, producing oxygen, and filtering stormwater runoff. They offer refuge from hectic City streets and serve as outdoor classrooms for children and adults learning about nature. They also expand the range of landscape experiences beyond that of the dense built environment and manicured Boston parkland.
Protecting Boston's Wetlands
The Boston Conservation Commission protects open space and natural areas in Boston, with a special emphasis on the City’s wetlands.
Open Space Plan
The City of Boston Open Space and Recreation Plan 2015 - 2021 presents the process, analysis, plan goals, and objectives for improving and protecting open space in Boston.
The Grassroots program supports the development of community gardens.
GET MORE INVOLVED
For businesses, organizations, or institutions
Explore the resources from A Better City’s Challenge for Sustainability for sustainable mobility.
For community groups
Greenovate Neighborhoods is a great way to connect to other residents who are helping implement the City’s Climate Action Plan. Here are a few other active groups that provide resources to communities:
Street trees play an important role in keeping our air clean, absorbing flood waters, and helping reduce the effects of urban heat island effect.
Street Trees in Boston
Parks and Recreation— The Parks and Recreation Department is responsible for caring for our city's street trees. You can request a tree be planted on city property.
We can reduce transportation costs and carbon emissions while also providing residents better access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food.
Urban Farming in the City
- The Office of Food Initiatives— The Office of Food Initiatives supports urban agriculture in Boston by helping residents turn land into urban farms.
Urban Gardens and Farms
There are more than 200 community gardens in Boston. Community gardening is a great way to provide fresh vegetables for you and your family while also reducing your carbon footprint.
Wetlands are vital to the City's natural environment, providing habitat for fish and wildlife. Wetlands also help maintain groundwater and water quality, and mitigate the impacts of flooding, storm damage, and pollution.
- The Conservation Commission— protects open space and natural areas in Boston, with a special emphasis on the City's wetlands.