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Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway

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2004–2007, SMWM/The Cecil Group with the Halvorson Company, master planners. North End to Chinatown.

Named for the matriarch of the Kennedy family, the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway provides a series of parks above the submerged Central Artery. This replaces the elevated expressway from the 1950s named for Mrs. Kennedy's father, Boston mayor John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald. In a recent property transfer, the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority now owns the land, with the private-sector Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy raising funds to maintain the parks and sponsor events. Approximately 75 percent of the thirty-acre, mile-and-a-half-long corridor is dedicated for park use, with several institutions assigned to build on key parcels. The North End Parks, designed by Crosby Schlesinger Smallridge with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Ltd., flank Hanover Street, providing a bridge between the public scale of the Government Center district and the denser development of the residential and commercial North End. The Wharf District Parks, between the Atlantic Avenue extension and Rowes Wharf (WF24), consist of four parcels designed by EDAW and Copley Wolff Design Group. The northern most element connects Quincy Market (GC5) to Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park (WF13), opening the Walk to the Sea from the Old State House (GC9) to Long Wharf, the harbor, and islands. The southern parcels provide open plazas and lawns for public assembly interspersed with a fountain and artwork that engage a nautical theme. Below Dewey Square, the final section of the Greenway is the Chinatown Park, linear elements along the northern edge of Surface Road. Designed by Carol Johnson Associates, these sections are the most distinctive of the parks, using Chinese landscape features such as stands of bamboo and red metal frames. Pavement patterns here include the Chinese chessboard design of artist May Sun in front of the Chinatown Gate and the “stream” of stainless steel and colorful concrete that creates a partial map of the surrounding district. For a city with a rich heritage of designed landscapes (and a limited budget for their maintenance), the private-sector conservancy will be essential for the success and sustainability of these spaces.

Institutional structures will be interspersed among these park units. The parcel north of the North End Parks has been designated for a new YMCA building; to the south will hopefully rise the Boston Museum, designed by Moshe Safdie and Associates to resemble an inverted ship's hull in glass. South of the Wharf District Parks, the New Center for Arts and Culture, a building designed by Daniel Libeskind, will be constructed when fund-raising is completed. Other institutional projects may follow.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway", [Boston, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 86-87.

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