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Boston progresses plans for its urban forest

Landscape architecture firm Stoss Landscape Urbanism and forestry consultant Urban Canopy Works have been selected to co-lead the effort to develop the 20-year plan.

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The plan will set citywide goals for canopy protection and be responsive to climate change
The plan will set citywide goals for canopy protection and be responsive to climate change

The City of Boston is moving forward with its first “urban forest” plan having named the consultancies which will spearhead the effort to grow and protect the city’s trees.

 

The 20-year plan will set citywide goals for canopy protection, be responsive to climate change and development, and aims to enhance the quality of life for all Bostonians.

 

Forestry consultant

 

Boston landscape architecture firm Stoss Landscape Urbanism and forestry consultant Urban Canopy Works have been selected to co-lead the initiative. Stoss was awarded the contract with Urban Canopy Works as a subconsultant.

 

“Trees are an important part of making Boston’s communities resilient. This plan is the first of its kind in Boston, and it will expand and protect one of our most precious natural resources, while prioritising the needs of our residents,” said mayor Martin Walsh.

 

“Developing an urban forest plan is important to ensure our tree canopy in Boston is equitable, responsive to climate change and ensures quality of life for all Bostonians.”

 

According to the City, the plan will be a collaborative effort that includes a community advisory group, interdepartmental working group, and community outreach.

 

Recognising that environmental injustice exists in Boston, the planning process will embed support for communities that have been disproportionately impacted by environmental stressors. Planning will touch upon a wide variety of topics, such as ecology, design, policy, practices, and funding.

 

The project team will also work closely with a community advisory group and an interdepartmental working group with input from residents, community organisations, businesses, and institutions.

“Developing an urban forest plan is important to ensure our tree canopy in Boston is equitable, responsive to climate change and ensures quality of life for all Bostonians”

Beginning in spring of 2021, the planning process will take approximately one year to complete. The community advisory group will be formed in late spring of this year. The public will have an opportunity to weigh in on the plan in early fall, after the assessment and scoping phases.

 

State of the canopy

 

One of the project tasks, along with scoping the project and assessing the existing state of the canopy, will be to develop a plan for engaging the community. The outreach plan will prioritise populations that have been disproportionately exposed to environmental stressors; be sensitive to differences in cultures, economic realities, and built environments across Boston.

 

Joining Stoss Landscape Urbanism and Urban Canopy Works, the plan will be developed with contributions from American Forests, Nitsch Engineering, PlanITGeo, local experts, and the public. Dr Neenah-Estrella Luna, a social equity and anti-racism consultant, will support the effort to make environmental justice the foundation of the project.

 

“Our job is to fuel the project’s success by coordinating efforts between all the partners who each bring their own unique expertise,” said Amy Whitesides, director resiliency and research, at Stoss.

 

“The ultimate goal is to maximise the health of Bostonians and their environment.”

 

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