Teen Oasis at Donnelly Field

Committee: Facilities, Parks, and Recreation

Cost: $400,000

Location: Donnelly Field.

Short Description: Let's create a Teen Oasis in Cambridge! Equipped with shade structures, light-up swings, and scheduled events, a Teen Oasis will provide teenagers with an accessible place to hang out, enjoy the outdoors, and socialize.

Long Description: This proposal aims to expand on existing City projects to create a Teen Oasis by Donnelly Field that will feature scheduled events as well as features and seating specifically suited to teenagers. This Teen Oasis will provide a gathering space equipped with shade structures, light-up swings for day and night-time use, and other structures to provide Cambridge teenagers with a comfortable and fun place to hang out in the city and socialize. The Teen Oasis will embrace programming (events and activities at the site), site furnishings (e.g., seating, hammocks, shade, etc.), and landscaping to elevate the space beyond mere swings. Engaging in a co-design process with teenagers for both the space and its activities holds significant potential in the City’s endeavor to develop more effective approaches to meeting the distinctive needs of teens in public spaces. 

Through its Shade is Social Justice grant program, the City has funded a team (the MIRROR) to create a temporary shade structure and teen social space at Donnelly Field in 2024, near the Frisoli Youth Center. This team is centering the needs of teenagers in its approach and will be collaborating with them to co-design and build it. 

While adults and young children enjoy numerous welcoming spaces, there is a significant lack of such places for teenagers. This Participatory Budget proposal presents a distinctive chance to expand upon the groundwork laid by the MIRROR team. It will further the City's understanding of the needs and yearnings of youth in Cambridge and explore innovative ways to address those needs within public spaces. 


A concept image of an outdoor teen space; created by Make Space for Girls.