Mayor Walsh and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department are excited to announce that they will be teaming up with design firm Sasaki to bring new life to Copley Square. The project is just beginning, and will kick off with an initial public engagement phase and will extend into design and implementation over the next two years.

“We are looking forward to launching this process with Sasaki and having the public join us in determining the future of this vital urban gathering place. These meetings will give stakeholders a say in how we tailor Copley Square to the needs of present and future generations while preserving its place as an iconic Boston landmark,” noted Parks Commissioner Ryan Woods. 

To kick start the engagement process, the Parks Department and Sasaki will host their first community engagement opportunity on Monday, November 16, via zoom. For more information on the meeting, please visit the event page on This meeting is open to anyone who would like to learn more about the project and share feedback on how to create a contemporary civic square that serves as an anchor to Boston’s Back Bay for decades to come.

The design team has also developed a brief survey to capture feedback from those who are unable to attend the meeting. This project is part of a Boston Parks & Recreation Department larger initiative to ensure all Bostonians have equitable access to excellent parks across the city. 

About Copley Square: 

Copley Square is a lively destination used throughout the year for programming like concerts and  farmers markets and is regularly traversed and enjoyed by people moving around Back Bay. With its immediate proximity to the Boston Public Library and Trinity Church on either side, the square also acts as a gathering place and a front lawn for these important Boston landmarks. The design process will engage the community to set priorities for how an updated Copley Square could best meet the needs of the city’s residents and visitors. 

About Sasaki and their relationship with Copley Square: 

Sasaki won a design competition to create Copley Square in the 1960s, transforming it from its original form as a grassy triangle defined by busy streets into a civic plaza that neighbored Trinity church. The mid-century style sunken piazza with a fountain at its lowest level was initially praised by the public for the way it emphasized surrounding cultural institutions. However over time, its separation from the street via grading, walls and plantings proved problematic in terms of urban activation and safety. A second design competition in the 1980s resulted in the version of Copley Square that Bostonian’s know today: a well-used civic space flush with the surrounding sidewalks and containing a balance of lawn, pavement, trees, planting and benches as well as a fountain. 

Copley Square’s evolution over the years. (Photo credit: Sasaki)

Contact Department: Parks and Recreation

Publish Date: Mon, 11/16/2020 – 10:42am

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Author: Editor
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