Today, almost 30% of Boston residents were born outside the United States and of these, nearly half came from Latin America, a quarter from Asia, and almost 10% from Africa. The future of the city's open space system - how much land is set aside, and how that land is designed, maintained, and used - will increasingly depend on the passion and commitment of families and communities who may not see themselves or their interests reflected in the city's public lands.
In this paper, we consider some of the ways in which recent immigrants to Boston connect (and do not connect) to public parks and open spaces. Our goal is two-fold: to explore alternative ways of "seeing" and using parks and open spaces in different communities in the city, as well as to highlight specific strategies, both here and across the country, that successfully engage urban residents born outside the United States. If Boston's civic spaces are to be celebrated in the future as they have been in the past, they must come to reflect the new diversity of Boston's people. Our hope is that these stories and models will encourage more culturally resonant uses of parks and other public open spaces, and equip policy makers and environmental organizations to partner more fully with newcomer communities - in Boston and beyond.