Community Landscapes

Assistance for communities to identify and care for heritage landscapes.

The Heritage Landscape Inventory Program works with communities and regional organizations to identify document and prepare planning recommendations for the heritage landscapes that are vital to the quality of life, character, and history of our communities. Heritage landscapes embody connections between natural landscapes and human history and are often cited as special places that define the character of communities. These include historic gardens and parks, town centers, mill complexes, river corridors, farms, and scenic roads, to name a few. Participating communities have had their landscapes and recommendations documented in Reconnaissance Reports .

The HLI program guidebook Reading the Land Massachusetts Heritage Landscapes: A Guide to Identification and Protection was developed to assist communities statewide with the identification, documentation, and preservation planning for their own heritage landscapes. DCR staff is also able to provide technical assistance and guidance to communities who want to take some proactive planning measures for their heritage landscapes. DCR is also applying the Heritage Landscape Inventory program’s methodology to the DCR parks system.

The HLI program has helped to foster relationships between local and regional advocates for natural and cultural resources. The most frequently recommended strategies from the HLI program have been compiled in Terra Firma 7 Taking Action: A Toolkit for Protecting Community Character.

The HLI Program was the winner of the 2004 American Planning Association Public Education Award.

Heritage Landscape Atlas – The Heritage Landscape Atlas is an innovative tool for protecting the cultural landscape of Massachusetts. Developed as part of the Heritage Landscape Inventory program, the Atlas is an interactive, web-based mapping application that allows for both landscape-specific analysis and regional and statewide comparisons.

Historic Cemetery Preservation Initiative

The Massachusetts Historic Cemeteries Preservation Initiative was created in 1999 and was designed to provide cities and towns with the tools to preserve public historic cemeteries as cultural landscapes. This is a unique and threatened landscape type that requires a broad preservation approach to expand preservation beyond stone conservation and to include vegetation management, circulation features, buildings, fences and more. This is articulated in the Preservation Guidelines for Municipally Owned Historic Burial Grounds and Cemeteries, recipient of the 2000 Honor Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects.

In 2011 DCR re-issued the Guidelines on CD-ROM as part of Terra Firma 10 Mourning Glory: Preserving Historic Cemeteries. Funded through an agreement with the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, the bulletin was released in conjunction with a Historic Cemetery Preservation Workshop attended by over 200 people from 8 states.

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