Greening the Gateway Cities Program

The Massachusetts Greening the Gateway Cities Program (GGCP) aims to increase tree canopy cover in the state’s Gateway Cities, which are urban centers facing economic and social challenges due to recent losses in industry and manufacturing power. The program is currently operating in 18 residential areas with the goal of covering 5% of each area in new tree canopy cover. This initiative aims to reduce heat stress as well as energy use and cost for Massachusetts residents. 

Under GGCP, forestry crews hired within local communities plant trees (ranging from 6ft to 10ft tall) in designated neighborhoods. The program is concentrated in Environmental Justice neighborhoods and targets areas within Gateway Cities that have lower tree canopy, a large renter population, higher wind speeds, and an older housing stock. The 18 areas where GGCP is currently active include: Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Fall River, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lynn, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Quincy, Revere, Springfield, Fitchburg, Lowell, Salem, and Westfield. The GGCP website includes a map for each of these communities outlining the planting zone and areas where tree canopy will be expanded. These planting zones are established by the EEA, city officials, and local non profit partners, who determine which part of the city has the lowest tree canopy cover. Community members can contact their local GGCP office to see if they live in the eligible neighborhoods and planting zones. Once that is determined, a DCR forester can come to a resident’s property, determine with the resident what the best location and species of tree would be for the property, and then plant this tree free of charge. While this planting occurs only in the spring and fall seasons, foresters can be contacted at any time. 

GGCP is a partnership between several state agencies -- the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Urban & Community Forestry Program, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER), and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) -- and local grassroots organizations. Funding is provided by the EEA and by DOER’s Alternative Compliance Payment program. 

Publication Date: 2018

Related Organizations:

  • Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA)
  • Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
  • Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources

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