Resilient Design with Increased Capacity for Tourism, Recreation, and Programming
The Boston Parks and Recreation Department commissioned Weston & Sampson to develop a creative, innovative, and flexible master plan for the revitalization of Boston Common. A major tourist destination, cultural beacon, and neighborhood park, Boston Common is one of the most treasured green spaces in the world. As America’s first public park and an oasis in downtown Boston, we envision a resilient Common with increased capacity for existing and future historical tourism, recreation, and programming.
Together with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and the Friends of the Public Garden, Weston & Sampson Design Studio has partnered with Kyle Zick Landscape Architecture and HR&A Advisors to develop a master plan of improvements that can withstand heavy use, New England weather, and the test of time.
As we work to prepare a strategic plan for this 50-acre property, we are guided by the goal of crafting an atmosphere of civic access and engagement. We have carefully calibrated and begun a robust public outreach process to capture a diverse range of voices across the city and beyond. We deployed a “Mini Common” pop-up exhibit at farmers markets, in public plazas, and in the park itself, giving residents and visitors the opportunity to comment on areas of the Common they like most/least, evaluate current programming, and create a wish list of potential interventions and improvements.
Nearly 6,000 individuals have taken our online survey or engaged with us at an in-person event, which provides the data about how people use the Common now and how it can better serve them in the future. A series of evening open houses has provided attendees with a summary of existing findings and an opportunity to speak one-on-one with our project team members about specific topics like safety, circulation, and trees, as well as geographic areas such as Park Street Plaza and the Frog Pond. Coupled with our design expertise, this diverse collection of engagement strategies will culminate in the delivery and implementation of a new vision for Boston Common over the next several years.