Boston Society of Landscape Architects

ESSENTIAL: A Panel Discussion about Public Health,

Public Space, and the Design of Boston’s Big Parks

May 4 @ 3:00pm 



Now, more than ever, parks are essential public infrastructure. Supporting physical and mental health, enhancing human and ecological resilience, offering places to protest and spaces to heal, parks have played vital roles during this past pandemic year – and will in the years to come. Rather fortuitously, Boston is currently renovating its three largest open spaces: Boston Common, Franklin Park, and Moakley Park. Join the landscape architects and public health experts designing these projects in a discussion about the past, present, and future of open space in Boston and beyond.

With degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Julia Africa is the public health consultant for the Franklin Park Action Plan. Prior to this, she led the Nature, Health, and the Built Environment program at the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (C- CHANGE). 

Gary Hilderbrand, FASLA is a founding principal of Reed Hilderbrand Associates, Inc., in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where he has taught since 1990. Reed Hilderbrand is leading the design process for the Franklin Park Action Plan.

Chris Reed, FASLA, is Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture and Co-Director of the Master of Landscape Architecture in Urban Design Program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and founding director of Stoss Landscape Urbanism. Stoss is leading the redesign of Moakley Park.


Cheri Ruane, FASLA, is vice president and landscape architecture practice leader at Weston & Sampson. She has previously worked for the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and is past president of the Boston Society of Landscape Architects. Weston & Sampson is leading the master plan process for Boston Common.

As this team wrote in the Boston Globe one year ago, “It’s a time to embrace bold thinking and turn resolutely toward planning a healthier and more equitable future for Boston.”