A Garden in the Street: The Introduction of Street Trees in Boston and New York with Anne Beamish - Shareable

A Garden in the Street: The Introduction of Street Trees in Boston and New York with Anne Beamish


Online Event


Mar 31, 2021 - Mar 31, 2021

12:00 PM

UTC/GMT -05:00 - America/New_York


When James Stuart declared in 1771 that “a garden in a street is not less absurd than a street in a garden,” he was right.  It did seem like a ridiculous idea. Tree roots broke up pavements and sewers, falling leaves clogged an already inadequate drainage system, and worst of all, they were fire hazards. But within thirty years this attitude had completely reversed in America. Because of new ideas about urban beauty and ornamentation; new medical theories about how trees could help prevent disease and epidemics; and the introduction of fire insurance, street trees became an urban necessity, not an absurdity.

About the speaker: Dr. Anne Beamish is an associate professor of landscape architecture at Kansas State University in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional & Community Planning. Her research and teaching interests focus on urban landscape history, the design of public space, and the history of innovative ideas, technologies, and policies that have transformed the landscape. Current research projects include: the history of nighttime and public street lighting; the evolution of the Boston Common from a utilitarian space to treasured park; American pleasure gardens, and the cultural life of trees. She received a B.Arch. degree from Carleton University in Ottawa Canada, as well as an M.S. in Architecture Studies, Master of City Planning degree, and Ph.D. in Urban Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In addition to Kansas State University, she has taught in the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin; the College of Design at the Wentworth Institute of Technology; and the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT.  At K-State she teaches site design studio, history of landscape architecture, and research methods. Recent publications include: “Rational Entertainment and Instructive Amusement: Philadelphia’s Nineteenth-Century Urban Pleasure Gardens” Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes. 2020; “Venerable Relic: The Great Elm on Boston Common.” Arboricultural Journal. 2017; and “Enjoyment in the Night: Discovering Leisure in Philadelphia’s Eighteenth-Century Rural Pleasure Gardens.” Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes. 2015. Current articles under review are: “Before Parks: Public Space in 17th and 18th century Boston, New York, and Philadelphia,” “Riding on Foot: The Moving Sidewalk and the Future of U.S. Transit,” and “A Much Abused Tree: The Rise and Fall of the Lombardy Poplar.”


This event is part of a special eight-session series hosted by professor Julian Agyeman (Co-chair of Shareable’s Board), Cities@Tufts, and Shareable.
Initially designed for Tufts students, faculty, and alumni, the colloquium has been opened up to the public with the support of Shareable, The Kresge Foundation, and Shift Family Foundation.
In order to increase the accessibility of this content, Shareable will be releasing the transcripts, audio, and video from these presentations in addition to providing additional opportunities to join the sessions live.
Visit www.shareable.net/cities-tufts for more information about this series.
Please get in touch if you have any questions: info@shareable.net