Faculty-led Stoss Landscape Urbanism tapped to develop Boston’s first Urban Forest Plan

Aerial view of downtown Boston.

Photo by Alex Maclean, courtesy of Stoss Landscape Urbanism.

Stoss Landscape Urbanism, the design studio founded by Chris Reed, has been selected to develop Boston’s first Urban Forest Plan in collaboration with forestry consultant Urban Canopy Works. The effort will establish a 20-year canopy protection plan for the city and address topics including ecology, design, policy, environmental injustice, and funding.

In addition to his role as founding director at Stoss, Reed serves as professor in practice of landscape architecture and co-director of the Master of Landscape Architecture in Urban Design program at the Graduate School of Design. His colleague Amy Whitesides (MLA ’12), director of resiliency and research at Stoss and design critic in landscape architecture at the GSD, will lead the effort for the studio.

“Our job is to fuel the project’s success by coordinating efforts between all the partners who each bring their own unique expertise,” explains Whitesides. “The ultimate goal is to maximize the health of Bostonians and their environment. We’re proud to work with the City of Boston on this shared commitment to Boston’s Urban Forest Plan.”

The project will consist of scoping and assessing the existing state of Boston’s tree canopy while developing a plan to engage the community. Since tree removals on residential, private, and institutional properties have been the main contributors to canopy loss in the past five years, the Urban Forest Plan will also highlight policy tools to expand canopy on public streets and parks and control future loss on private property. The planning process will kick off in the spring of 2021 and will take approximately one year to complete.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says that the Urban Forest Plan will “ensure our tree canopy in Boston is equitable, responsive to climate change and ensure the quality of life for all Bostonians.” He also emphasizes the importance of community input so that “residents in our neighborhoods have a central voice in this process.” Commissioner of Parks and Recreation Ryan Woods adds, “It’s no coincidence that many of the communities disproportionately impacted by poor air quality and the urban ‘heat island’ effect, also have inadequate tree cover. We’re excited to collaborate with these partners to find opportunities for growing tree canopy in the places that need it most.”

Read more about the Urban Forest Plan on the City of Boston’s website and in World Landscape Architecture.