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Greenways Shaping Boston


  • Steve Miller, Trustees Collaborative for Boston Parks / Livable Streets
  • Matt Kiefer, Trustees Collaborative for Boston Parks
  • Karl Haglund, DCR’s Senior Planner, Historian and author of Inventing the Charles River (MIT Press)


Boston has an incomparable park legacy, and in particular, a legacy of greenways—tree-lined, non-motorized travelways—through the Emerald Necklace, along the Charles River, and elsewhere. These benefit our urban region in countless ways, as beautiful places for safe walking and bicycling by people of all ages and abilities, as environmental and public health assets, and as economic stimuli.

Yet most of these special places are disconnected from each other and are distant from many who would benefit most from access to them and are therefore both underutilized and under-supported.  The Greenway Links Initiative advances the vision of a seamless network of green corridors across the urban core, from the Mystic River in the north to the Neponset River in the south.  The initiative seeks to extend, connect, and improve existing greenways via safe, traffic-separated green links. This will help to create an urban park system for the 21st century that reflects our city’s current needs.

Steve Miller and Matt Kiefer will outline the preliminary vision for the proposed Greenway Links Initiative which promotes a comprehensive and comprehensible plan, forming a user-friendly network for non-motorized urban travel that serves every neighborhood. The proposal includes selection criteria for Greenway Links projects and a list of priority projects in the three rivers area.

The idea of an urban park system has deep Boston roots, but the city and the way we use urban space have changed since the era of Olmsted.  This effort will help Boston build on our open space legacy to meet the changing needs of our thriving city at the heart of a dynamic region.  Karl Haglund will frame the Greenway Links effort within the context of Boston’s remarkable and historical legacy of greenways and regional planning efforts.


Speaker Biographies

Karl Haglund, DCR: Karl is DCR’s Senior Planner, an historian and author of Inventing the Charles River (MIT Press) which won an Honor Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects.  For over twenty-five years Karl has directed major projects in urban and regional open space planning, public arts, and the design and interpretation of historic structures and public spaces including managing the new $130 million Charles River Basin project for DCR.

Steve Miller, Trustees Collaborative for Boston Parks / Livable StreetsSteve is on the Board of Directors of the Livable Streets Alliance, was the co-founder of Boston's Hub On Wheels Bike festival and was subsequently a Gubernatorial appointee on the state’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board. Miller has published four books on public policy, hosted a radio discussion show, and was the on-screen Science & Technology Commentator for a national cable network. He currently publishes a weekly blog titled, “The Public Way: Transportation, Health, and Livable Communities.

Matt Kiefer, Trustees Collaborative for Boston Parks: Matt is a land use attorney with Goulston & Storrs and teaches in the Urban Planning program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.  He is active in historic preservation, public open space and land use planning, design and policy.  He is a contributor to Harvard Design Magazine, Urban Land, Architecture Boston and many other publications.