CityOfBoston Official An official website of the City of Boston

This is the website for the City of Boston’s new Planning Department, which launched on July 1. The staff and many responsibilities of the Boston Planning & Development Agency have moved to the Planning Department of the City of Boston including planning & zoning, urban design, development review, and real estate divisions. Please excuse any misalignment you may see on our site as we transition to the City. Learn more

At a Glance

Roxbury is the geographic heart of Boston, enclosing the center point of the city. Once a farming town on the outskirts of Boston, Roxbury began its transformation from agricultural, to industrial, to residential uses in the early nineteenth century. In the early twentieth century, waves immigrants came to Roxbury, and in the 1940s and 1950s African Americans began to migrate from the American south, making Roxbury a center of Black culture.

Today Roxbury is home to a diverse community which includes African American, Hispanic, and Asian families, along with young professionals. Housing in the area is a mix of historic brick row houses and Boston's traditional "triple deckers". A number of active neighborhood groups, including the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative and the Roxbury Historical Society, engage the community in both development and preservation efforts. Roxbury Center for the Arts, Culture, and Trade, which opened in 2005, celebrates community culture through visual and performance arts. Several parks, including the urban wilds which surround the William J. Devine public golf course, offer residents substantial green space. 

The main commercial areas of Roxbury include Nubian Square, Crosstown, and Grove Hall. Nubian Square has long been a commercial hub for the area and is enjoying a newly-found renaissance. The historic Ferdinand building, which has been converted into the Boston Public Schools headquarters, and the new LEED-certified, B2 police station are just two recent additions to the area. Nubian Square also serves as a transit hub for a number of MBTA buses and the Silver Line. Blue Hill Avenue has undergone a significant transformation into a dynamic business district. Roxbury Main Streets supports local business owners in Roxbury. Roxbury Community College and the John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science are two well-known educational institutions in the area. 

Community Engagement Managers

The Community Engagement Managers (CEM) of the Planning Department are responsible for assisting staff members with the coordination of all outreach in regard to planning initiatives and proposed development in Boston's neighborhoods. CEMs work to ensure each Planning Department external process actively reflects the community's goals, in addition to being the point of contact for constituent questions. Have questions about a certain project in your neighborhood? Feel free to reach out them:


Mark McGonagle

Deputy Director of Community Engagement

Department: Communications


Beacon Hill, Jamaica Plain, Longwood Medical Area, Mission Hill, Roxbury, South Boston


For information about planning context, zoning, or Planning Department processes, please contact [email protected].