Welcome to the Boston Architecture Diary, your essential guide to architecture exhibitions and events taking place across the city.
“Breathing Room: Mapping Boston’s Green Spaces,” an exhibition now on view at the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library, presents an array of historical maps that display Boston’s great tradition of understanding open space as a vital resource for the city and for the region. These 19th century green spaces by the first American landscape architects were created to be functional and beautiful and endure as beloved parks today; landscapes that create wonderful individual moments and work in a system. Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace cleaned a polluted river and famously created a connected series of neighborhood parks in so doing, and is still a model for cities near and far. Charles Eliot’s 1893 “Map of the Metropolitan District of Boston” looked to the region, laying out a vision for natural “reservations,” policy, and funding that crossed municipal boundaries. This vision established Revere Beach, Middlesex Fells, and the Blue Hills (among others); today’s DCR and the Trustees, and together restored a variety of New England natural areas, offering an antidote to Boston’s explosive 19th century growth. In partnership with the Leventhal Center, the Boston Society of Landscape Architects and NBBJ are hosting a conversation to discuss and debate what our priorities should be as we build upon this legacy and look ahead.