Recap :: Rose Kennedy Greenway Walk

Recap :: Rose Kennedy Greenway Walk
by Matthew Richard, Bachelor of Landscape Architecture Candidate

We met early Saturday morning at 11am at the Chinatown Gate, November 19th. There, landscape architecture students listened as Maria Bellalta, Head of the School of Landscape Architecture, discussed the history of the Rose Kennedy Greenway. We looked at before and after shots as well as some of the community involvement with the Chinatown and North End parcels.

There is a whole history behind the Greenway and the Big Dig. For a certain amount of time, design development was put on hold due to political disputes between the City, the State and the Turnpike Authority. Individual parcels of the Greenway were designed by different landscape architects and there is a question of whether or not the Greenway as a whole feels like one park or a string of different parks.

Some of the things we noticed on our walk was lighting and plant material. Throughout half of our walk, we were in the shade. Was this a tactical error in the design? Or was it just because the Sun is almost in it's winter stance? Even though it may have been shady in some particular parts of the Greenway, we are certain that it is better than if the I-93 artery was still in existence; casting a shadow down on the sidewalks and the lower street, also creating a huge wall cutting circulation and disconnecting downtown Boston with it's historical and treasured harbor.

While we were in one of the parcels in the Wharf District of the Greenway, our fearless SASLA Chapter President, Matthew Gilman, had an altercation with a rare species from the cactaceae family: Opuntia humifusa, a perennial that blooms bright yellow flowers usually during June.

This cactus is a bit different than some would expect as it does not have single "needles" extending from the plant, but several bunches of smaller needles that (as Mr. Gilman can tell you) appear soft and fuzzy at first. Until you touch them. These "fuzzies" come out as multiple slivers with the slightest touch. More common names for this cactus include Prickly Pear and Devil's Tongue.

We traveled from Mary Soo Hoo Park in Chinatown, through Occupy Boston occupying Dewey Square Park, up Fort Point Channel Parks, stopping at an incident in the Urban Arboretum, questioning certain scales of parts of the Wharf District Parks and ending in the North End parks. The weather was perfect for a good and informative Saturday stroll through our town's continually developing Greenway. 
More pictures of this trip can be seen here.

We plan on having more trips like this and hope to see you there! If you've got a place you'd like to check out feel free to email us at