According to Birnbaum, originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. between 1878 and 1895, and with later design involvement by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., the Emerald Necklace in Boston was among the (if not the) first urban greenways in the world and was considered by the elder Olmsted as the most important work of his career.
However, whereas the fine arts museums situated on the park have benefited from substantial investment in the past decade, the necklace has suffered from competing causes for philanthropy.
"Bostonians, as we've seen, are rightfully proud of their major art institutions, so why doesn't that translate to the masterwork of one of their greatest artists? Where are the public-private partnerships? Where are the Boston equivalents of major philanthropists like Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg who donated $35 million to New York's High Line? When it comes to philanthropy for Boston's parks, is there a grass ceiling?"