News & Updates

BRA to host workshop series about the future of urban renewal in June and July

Jun 05, 2015

Starting next Wednesday in Chinatown, the Boston Redevelopment Authority will facilitate a series of neighborhood workshops about the future of urban renewal in Boston. The workshops series is the next phase of the BRA's ongoing public engagement process to extend 14 of the city's 16 active urban renewal plan areas.

Each of Boston's urban renewal areas have unique planning and redevelopment goals associated with them. The interactive workshops will provide an opportunity for community members to weigh in on updating the goals of the various plans. BRA staff will begin the sessions by educating participants on the basics of urban renewal, its history, and how the tools can be used to create vibrant neighborhoods. Attendees will then be asked to break into smaller groups to discuss new or updated goals for the urban renewal plans, many of which date back several decades. 

The schedule of meetings is as follows:

Chinatown Workshop: Wednesday, June 106:00 PM – 8:00 PM at the China Trade Center

Charlestown Workshop: Monday, June 296:00 PM – 8:00 PM at Charlestown High School 

South End Workshop: Thursday, July 96:00 PM – 8:00 PM at Villa Victoria

Roxbury Workshop: Wednesday, July 156:00 PM – 8:00 PM at the BCYF Shelburne Community Center

Downtown Workshop: Wednesday, July 226:00 PM – 8:00 PM at Boston City Hall

Urban renewal began as a federal program in 1949 to address widespread blight in cities across America. In 1974, urban renewal became a state-administered program which is still active nationwide. Boston is just one of 31 other cities and towns in the Commonwealth with active urban renewal plans. Today, urban renewal tools are used in a much more restrained fashion to revitalize neighborhoods by promoting planning and economic development on a smaller scale.
The BRA has been leading a public engagement effort to extend Boston's urban renewal plan agreements since late last year. Three community kick-off meetings were held earlier this year to provide residents with an in-depth understanding of urban renewal tools and how today's use of the tools differs dramatically from the heavy-handed approaches of the past.

Once the public engagement process concludes, the BRA's Board of Directors, the Boston City Council, and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development will each have to approve the BRA's request to extend its urban renewal authority.

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