130 Years on, Boston's Emerald Necklace Still a Model Linear Park

Writer Kaid Benfield used a recent trip the American Society of Landscape Architects annual meeting in Boston to reflect on what that city can teach us about designing urban parks.

1 minute read

November 17, 2013, 1:00 PM PST

By Anna Bergren Miller @abergrenmiller


With the ASLA’s Landscape Architect’s Guide to Boston in hand, Benfield traversed some of the 1,100 acres of green space known as the “Emerald Necklace.”  A linear park that extends from the Boston Common through five additional parks and the Arnold Arboretum, much of the Emerald Necklace was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.

Benfield believes in cities, but he also believes that cities need parks—of which the Emerald Necklace is an exemplar.  He explains:  “I sometimes write about what I call the paradox of smart growth—urban density reduces environmental impacts across a region, but can increase them locally, at the neighborhood scale.  Parks and other forms of nature provide an antidote.”

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