Save Boston's Emerald Necklace Riverway
Park, Liff Park, and Back Bay Fens!

(Click images for larger views © Stephen Baird Natures Zeitgeist 2023)

Stop 300 Foot tall towers from surrounding

Boston's Emerald Necklace Parks!

Save Boston's Emerald Necklace Riverway
Park, Liff Park, and Back Bay Fens!


We respectfully request the protection of historic, public parklands Back Bay Fens, Justine Mee Liff Park, and The Riverway through the modification of proposed development at 305 Brookline Avenue/Longwood Place.

      • The Back Bay Fens, Justine Mee Liff Park, and The Riverway are among the oldest portions of Frederick Law Olmsteds' Emerald Necklace, serving as an important resource for people and wildlife, and spanning key portions of the Muddy River watershed; and
      • These parks are visited by thousands of daily users including runners, bikers, walkers, and commuters, serving as sites for the BAA half marathon, art festivals, public art events and environmental classes and as public lands, are meant to serve as respite and resource to a dense and growing community; and

      • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently completed a multi-decade flood management program of the Muddy River watershed; and These parklands provide key environmental benefits, increasingly important to Boston's climate resilience. 

      • The proposed building heights in the project are up to 320 feet, and violate both building heights and shadow restrictions under the Longwood Medical Area Interim Guidelines, currently in effect; and

      • The proposed project will cast significant new shadows (Over 3 hours in some areas) onto the parks, exceeding limits set forth in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area's Interim Guidelines, permanently altering the park's ecosystem and the conditions of human access experience; and will also cast significant new shadows (Over 3 hours in these areas) onto Boston University Wheelock Family Theater, Boston University Fenway Student Center and Residence Halls; and
      • These impacts will permanently degrade the quality of life of residents, students, workers and park patrons and set dangerous precedent for monetary payments for irreparable loss to public parks;
We the undersigned petition:
      • The Honorable Mayor Michelle Wu, Energy and Environment Chief Mariama White-Hammond, Boston Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ryan Woods, Boston Planning and Redevelopment Agency Chief J. Arthur Jemison, Diana Fernandez, Deputy Chief of Urban Design, BPDA; Boston City Council, Boston State House Representatives and Senators, U.S. Senators and House Representatives, Area Park Stewards and Citizens to:
      • Protect The Back Bay Fens, Justine Mee Liff and Riverway Parks of Boston's Emerald Necklace by requesting modification of proposed development at 305 Brookline Avenue/Longwood Place, to eliminate new shadows onto the park and mitigate the shadows onto The Riverway residential apartments, Boston University Wheelock Family Theater, Boston University Fenway Student Center and Student Residence Halls.

Sign the Petition at HERE

Save Boston's Emerald Necklace Riverway
Park, Liff Park, and Back Bay Fens!
Background Details:
  • Please join us for a spring-equinox WALK-SHOP* to examine the extent of new shadow cast on the Emerald Necklace parks by the proposed Longwood Place development (305 Brookline Avenue). We’ll have local experts along to explain historic and environmental impacts of the shadow on the park and notable landmarks along the way.
    Our walk-shop will take less than an hour. Please call or text (617) 794-9860 for more information or with questions.
    • MEETING PLACE - Terrace between TimeOut Market and the Trillium pavilion at 401 Park (formerly the Landmark Center)
    •  TIME - 4pm, Monday, March 20/ Rain date: 4pm, Tuesday, March 21
      We’re looking forward to seeing you there!
 Sponsored by a coalition of community and park advocates, including Fenway Civic Association
and the Fenway Garden Society.

  • Save the Date: Out of the Shadows; Into the Sunlight, February 27th at the Fenway Community Center
    Mark your calendars to join neighbors on February 27th at the Fenway Community Center for a discussion "Out of the Shadows; Into the Sunlight," reviewing proposed development at Longwood Place, what it means for our parks and city, sharing resident feedback, and the road ahead. Details at

(Click image to view and download PDF)

(Click image to view agenda and download PDF)

(Click image to view slide presentation and download PDF)

  • There is a second alternative petition at that has over 2,500 signatures HERE
  • Boston Globe January 27, 2023 Is a truce possible in Boston's shadow wars? by Renee Roth HERE
"The combatants in the shadow wars can reach detenete only if the rules are fair and clear, and no one is left in the dark."
  • Letters to the Editor in Response to Janaury 27, 2023 Boston Globe Story. "The push and pull of Boston development, shadows and all" HERE
  • Fenway Civic Association opposition letter pdf click HERE
"The enclosed 66 letters and over 700 petition signers are evidence of widespread citizen and stakeholder opposition to the PDA Development Plan for Longwood Place whose 30 story buildings would shade large swaths of the Emerald Necklace parks in the Fenway. Both the size and duration of the shadows would permanently degrade historic, irreplaceable parks systems and deprive people of sunshine in their parks and parkways for several hours of the day and evening." - Fenway Civic Association
  • Emerald Necklace Conservancy opposition letter pdf click HERE 
"In addition, the guidelines call for a maximum prevailing height(s) of 75, 150 and up to 205 feet (varying by proximity to the named parklands). Longwood Place in its current form casts shadows for more than 60 minutes on large swaths of the Riverway, Justine Mee Liff and the Back Bay Fens Parks. Moreover, the proposed heights in the project are up to 320 feet, far exceeds the area's "interim guidelines." - Emerald Necklace Conservancy
  • Brookline Green Space Alliance opposition letter pdf click HERE
"Shadows of buildings well above the tree line will extend across the Riverway and cover the full width of the Emerald Necklace in this most sensitive section of the Park. Laws regulating height adjacent to parkland were put into place to protect precious public resources that provide respite from urban living. Those laws should be upheld by our government agencies so that the public good is ensured. It should also be pointed out that significantly increased shadows on the park have a direct negative impact on public safety. Not only will shadowed, colder parkland where it is more difficult for plants to grow and water to provide habitat be much less welcoming; snow and ice which accumulates andmelts more slowly will cause hazards to walkers and wheels." - Brookline GreenSpace Alliance
  • Muddy River Restoration Project Maintenance and Management Oversight Committee (MMOC) opposition letter pdf click HERE 
"The heights of the proposed buildings at Longwood Place represent a significant threat to the ecological health, and therefore the historic character, and to the enjoyment by visitors of these recently restored public parks..."
"The likely threat to the health of ecosystems by additional shadows is not simply a matter of opinion; it is reinforced by peer-reviewed academic research..."
"MMOC urges the BPDA to recognize that the heights of buildings recently proposed for Longwood Place will exact significant and irreparable harm on public parks – harm that cannot be undone by the developer's proposed mitigation funding.” 
– MMOC's Landscape Maintenance Subcommittee
  • Fenway News December 2022 Opinion by Marie Fukuda jpg click HERE
"The negative ecological outcomes of these shadows on parkland are complex, spanning soil temperature and plant photosynthesis; health of turf and native tree succession; and stabilization of the steep bank along the Riverway -as well as human safety and access. But what is undeniable is simple: that a project that casts shadow onto historic, irreplaceable parkland will do so permanently." - Marie Fukuda
  • Friends of the Public Garden opposition letter pdf click HERE
"As the City invitably grows, sunshine protection for our irreplaceable greenspaces should be a priority." - Friends of the Public Garden
  • Friends of the Public Garden  "Sunlight's Impact on Urban Greenspaces" pdf report  HERE
Report with comprehensive Reference List of scientific sunlight studies
  • Nature's Zeitgeist: "Up to 1 billion birds die every year in the United States after building collisions. That has researchers worried. Loss says bird populations have declined in the past 30 years, and that's not good for the environment... Birds have a tremendous value to ecosystems and their functions. They're pollinators. They're seed dispersers. They control certain undesirable insects and other pests." NPR story HERE
  • Nature's Zeitgeist: Compromising sunlight in public parks is a public health issue. There are many scientific studies on the critical importance of sunlight for physical, cognitive and mental health. NIH - Effect of sunlight exposure on cognitive function among depressed and non-depressed participants.  HERE
  • Nature's Zeitgeist: Compromising  The River Way,  Liff Park and  the Back Bay FENs endangers the decades of work to prevent future flooding of the Muddy River. "The Muddy River flooded in the fall of 1996, shutting down the MBTA's Kenmore Station for two months and cutting off the Green Line from downtown."" Details HERE "Since October of 1996, the Muddy River has flooded three times, causing damage to residences, businesses, academic, medical and cultural institutions and the public transit system in Boston and Brookline." Details HERE
  • Boston Planning and Redevelopment Agency Public Comments:
  • Thursday, January 19, 2023 at 5:40 p.m. BPDA Meeting info:
    The Boston Redevelopment Authority d/b/a the Boston Planning & Development Agency (“BPDA”), pursuant to Sections 80A-2 and 80C-5.4 of the Boston Zoning Code (“Code”), hereby gives notice that it will hold a virtual Public Hearing on Thursday, January 19, 2023 at 5:40 p.m.
Televised on Boston City TV (Xfinity Channel 24, RCN Channel 13, and Verizon Fios Channel 962) and live streamed on, to consider the proposed Development Plan for Planned Development Area No. 134, Longwood Place, submitted by SCD Pilgrim Road Master Planner LLC c/o Skanska USA Commercial Development Inc. Members of the public may participate in this Public Hearing by registering at or emailing your testimony to Emailed testimony will be read aloud during the hearing.

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Copyright © 2023 by Stephen Baird