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Open Space Acquisition Program

Our city is growing. More people mean we need more open space: parks, playgrounds, urban wilds.  This program seeks to acquire properties to create these new open spaces for everyone.


Thanks to funding from Boston’s Community Preservation Act, the Parks Department has established the Open Space Acquisition Program.  We hope to address areas of the City with little or no open space, or where more is needed. We want to protect valued cultural and natural sites for future generations.

We welcome you to suggest new open spaces for protection. As a first step, you can fill out our Open Space Acquisition suggestion form.

The Open Space Acquisition Program uses planning tools like Planning for Future Parks to understand the fit of potential candidate sites with Boston's overall vision for the park system. With initial funding from the Community Preservation Act, we can begin to negotiate the purchase of land for future open spaces in a timely manner. The City has added more land to the public park system from nearly its beginnings. Expansion of the park system has been slow to keep up with increase in population and density from private development. In recent times, the City has rarely bought land for a growing population, or protected valuable natural resources.



  • Environmental justice and equity

  • Losses of valuable natural areas to development

  • Increasing population and density

  • Mitigating excessive heat and flooding events as a result of a changing climate

RECAP: why is this program important?
Boston's population is growing and densifying. The permanent and public open space system will need to expand alongside this growth to provide a high quality of life in perpetuity.



Acquiring new parklands and natural areas to fill in gaps where there are no such spaces, or to enhance existing spaces in areas that are growing and putting extra pressure on existing open spaces.


Increased funding for high quality park maintenance to match growing maintenance responsibilities.


Renovating our existing park system with state-of-the-art designs that can better serve existing and new needs

Make a suggestion

We want to hear from you! Do you know of a location where open space CAN be created?

Please complete our brief suggestion form. Have multiple locations in mind? Please submit a form for each location. You can also call or email with your ideas.

Complete our online form

You can expect a response from our department within 30 days acknowledging your submission and identifying next steps.

Feel free to contact us after 30 days have passed if you have not heard from us.

 Suggestion Form 

Common terms


In this context, acquisition is used to describe either:

  • the process of transferring ownership of a parcel to Parks and Recreation, and/or 
  • the process of creating open space on a parcel.


This term is used interchangeably with "parks". It can describe permanently protected and publicly accessible:

  • urban wilds and conservation lands
  • plazas
  • places with sports and other recreational opportunities, and
  • landscaped areas with seating.

Vacant lots and buildings are not considered open space, nor are streets and sidewalks. For this planning effort, we want you to highlight important areas that should become open space.


Parcel is a real estate term describing an area of land owned by someone. There's an invisible line that denotes ownership and tax liability. This term is used interchangeably with "property." Often, multiple parcels can make up a park. For instance, Franklin Park is made up of a group of parcels that function as one continuous park. Sometimes only a portion of a parcel is devoted to a park.


Protection is a legal method to constrain types of development on a parcel, regardless of ownership, that conflict with its use as an open space. There are varying degrees of protection that affect:

  1. how long protection is in place, and
  2. what can happen on the parcel, and where.

The Parks and Recreation Department advocates for permanently protected and publicly accessible parcels. We want the public to have access to open space forever.

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