What is an Open Space Plan?

  • City’s “road map” for open space conservation, acquisition, and improvements
  • Includes parks, recreational facilities, vacant lots and alleyways, and natural areas
  • Approved plan allows the city to apply for state and federal grants
  • Plan includes inventory and analysis, community needs/goals, 7-year action plan

Why is Open Space Important

  • Public health benefits: Parks and wooded areas reduce air pollution and stormwater runoff; and provide opportunities for physical activity (walking, biking, sports)
  • Economic benefits: Safe and attractive open space increases local property values, and makes the area more attractive for business and investment.
  • Social benefits: Parks and playgrounds can help build community - neighbors know each other, children have safe places to play
  • Environmental benefits: Supports a diversity of plant and animal life, helps maintain healthy and connected ecosystems

What kind of open space do we have in Lawrence

  • 44 parks and schoolyards across the city
  • 270 acres of open space, equivalent to 3.7 acres per 1,000 people; by contrast, Boston has 9.3 acres per 1,000 people (and has a much higher population density)
  • Majority of open space is owned and maintained by the city; several parks are owned and managed by MA DCR
  • Open space amenities in Lawrence include recreational fields and playgrounds, historic parks and monuments, boating, swimming pools, rock climbing, a skate park, community gardens, and nature trails


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires that Lawrence update its Open Space and Recreation Plan every seven years in order to be eligible for potentially millions in state funding. This short and confidential survey is the first step in that update. It is intended to actively involve you, as part of the community, in shaping open space and recreation priorities, planning, and goals.