Ongoing Reforms

Community Engagement

  • To address the fact that there hadn’t been a master plan for the City in over 50 years, between 2015 and 2017, the BPDA engaged over 15,000 residents to create Imagine Boston 2030, a comprehensive vision to boost quality of life, equity, and resilience in every neighborhood across the city.
  • Imagine Boston is being actively implemented through neighborhood planning studies and strategic plans that guide the City’s work everyday in housing, transportation, climate resiliency, and more.
  • In response to the unprecedented rate of population growth across Boston, the BPDA has embarked on a new approach to neighborhood planning, relying on robust and innovative community engagement and intense collaboration between city departments, a reflection of shared ownership in our collective future.
  • The BPDA has moved away from strictly town hall style meetings to better engage residents. BPDA hosts walking tours, interactive workshops, "chat with a planner" events, and other innovative ways to engage residents at different hours of the day in order to fit various schedules and meet people where they are in different locations throughout Boston.
  • We’ve invested significantly in interpretation and translated materials for both our development review and planning meetings. For example, we’ve hosted meetings in Spanish for Suffolk Downs and in Haitian Creole for PLAN: Mattapan.
  • Feedback for projects and planning initiatives can be submitted online for residents who are unable to attend meetings in person.
  • Public meetings are better publicized using social media channels in addition to more traditional mediums.
  • Open houses have been held in neighborhoods to discuss the Article 80 process with residents (separate from meetings about specific projects) to answer questions and create a wider presence of BPDA staff in neighborhoods and more transparency around the development review process.
  • The Planning Division now has a team of four Community Engagement Managers who focus on building relationships and reaching out to new voices in the communities where we have active planning work underway.

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