Skip survey header

Copley Square Community Meeting 2

Renovation of Copley Square | Conceptual Options Survey Aligned with Community Meeting 2

On February 11th, 2021, the City of Boston Parks Department shared conceptual design options for the renovation of Copley Square. You can find a recording of the meeting here. You can find a PDF of the slideshow here.

This survey asks similar questions to those asked during the public workshop in order to ensure that everyone has a chance to make their voices heard about the future of Copley Square. This survey will be open for three weeks, until 3/5/2021, so please feel free to share the link with others who might be interested. You can also fill out the survey in Spanish or Chinese

Part 1: LEARN

Phase 1 of the project conducted over the course of Fall 2020 was all about understanding the Copley Square site and its community context. The design team performed a site survey and analysis, held a community meeting to listen to the many aspirations and concerns about the square, and conducted an online survey which received over 1,000 responses.

Guiding Principles:
The project guiding principles summarize high level vision and goals for the renovation of Copley Square. These goals capture the feedback shared in the public meeting, survey and through conversations with the Parks Department and other city stakeholders.

Big picture, the project aims to bring new energy to Boston’s original art square. A successful Copley Square will be:
  • An iconic landmark at the heart of Back Bay
  • An inclusive Bostonian gathering place
  • A vibrant destination within the Hub
  • A durable and sustainable New England landscape
You can learn more about what we heard from constituents in the first phase and the detailed goals within the guiding principles here.
Opportunities and Constraints:

Today’s Copley Square balances open lawn and paved plaza space with tree groves, planting and a fountain. In the feedback from phase 1, we heard a few things which guide all design options:
  • The ratio of paved space to lawn and plantings is about right, and should remain consistent across future schemes
  • Stewardship of Copley’s mature tree canopy is highly valued, and all schemes should prioritize maintaining and enhancing healthy trees in place
  • The BosTix kiosk will remain in place
  • A fountain is desired in a future plan, but can be reconfigured. Its location is somewhat limited by proximity to the existing mechanical vault
  • The city is conducting a separate but concurrent planning process for the plaza in front of the library’s McKim building and plans a future study of Dartmouth Street. All schemes assume that there will be some relationship between these adjacent public spaces. 
  • All schemes should accommodate the same kinds of events that are hosted today (including Farmer’s Market, First Night, the Marathon and other cultural events). 
Initial Concepts:
The design team has developed three preliminary options for a renovation of Copley Square. The intent is to explore possibilities for the Square in an open-ended way rather than choose one scheme in entirety. Please explore each scheme and tell us what parts of each are, in your opinion, most successful. The feedback we hear will inform a final refined scheme that incorporates the best ideas for the future of the Square.
City Platform:
A signature stage for civic life extends under Copley's legacy tree canopy, connecting lawn, plaza and fountain.

Key Features of City Platform:
  • Raised platform under the trees, with a varied edge to sit, stand, observe and perform
  • An intimate fountain where water flows down a slope, with ample seating around the edge
  • A front lawn for Trinity Church
  • A plaza that opens onto Dartmouth street for larger events
Raised Crossings:
Connective pathways criss-cross a square defined by a linear plaza and planted gathering areas.

Key Features of Raised Crossings:
  • A linear plaza that visually and physically connects the historic facades of Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library McKim building
  • A fountain at the front steps of Trinity that can, at different times, be a shallow reflecting pool, a splash area activated with water jets/bubblers or be drained to function as a dry extension of the plaza
  • A robust band of planting buffering the plaza from Boylston street, incorporating a lawn and raised gathering areas
Framed Ellipse:
Lush gardens with ample seating opportunities surround a cozy plaza at the heart of the square.

Key Features of Framed Ellipse:
  • Linear bands of pavement and planting that “slide” past each other, creating great seating nooks on their edges
  • Lush plantings shelter an interior plaza space from the street
  • Sculptural fountain at the edge of plaza and lawn, can serve as seating when dry
  • Lawn faces south to capture seasonal sun