Editorial: On green development

May 4, 2012
By

The Art Park site is up for “green development,” as City and BRA planners call it. Of course, no development will be as green as the park and community gardens already there. The City needs to be more transparent and forthright in explaining its obvious intent to move, and probably shrink, the green space to gain that valuable Parker Street frontage.

The park and gardens are rare community assets created by the neighborhood itself. Housing also can be a fundamental community asset. But there is a plain risk here that the green space, sold to a private owner, becomes a glorified lawn and a greenwashed marketing point.

The gardeners should explore whether they have a legal claim to the property based on their long occupation and improvement of it. They certainly are the original green developers there.

In planning terms, a public-private partnership is one way to preserve their achievement. Housing developers are rarely gardening experts. It would make sense for the park and garden space to be placed in the ownership of a nonprofit organization such as the Boston Natural Areas Network.

One Response to Editorial: On green development

  1. SB on May 5, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Certainly our communities and neighborhoods require and deserve quality, vibrant parks and gardens, among other sorts of natural and public spaces. I imagine the Art Park and gardens on Parker Hill Avenue might just be very well-suited for such purposes. But being “green” is not simply about preserving and improving upon our natural and open spaces. It’s also about ensuring that we target development where infrastructure already exists. Realizing a plan that provides for both the preservation and vitality of art park and gardens and for contextually-appropriate infill development seems to be the greenest of solutions…as leaving the entire set of parcels undeveloped will only continue to push development pressure further out into the countryside…

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