News & Updates

Boston Planning & Development Agency launches to shape Boston's future

Sep 27, 2016

Today marks the launch of the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA), following a 14-week effort by the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) to renew and refocus the agency’s identity and vision to better reflect its work and ongoing mission. The BPDA mission is to plan and guide inclusive growth in Boston, while creating opportunities to live, work and connect. The BPDA will engage communities, implement new solutions, partner for greater impact and track progress through future-focused city-wide lens.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh made the announcement in his annual remarks to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.

“Our ultimate goal in Boston is a sustained and equitably shared prosperity for all, but we won’t achieve that goal without an inclusive process  for managing public and private investment, and without planning that can adapt to changing conditions and maintain deep community engagement,” said Mayor Walsh in his remarks. “The Boston Planning & Development Agency will look to the community first and will bring solutions across the city wherever they are  needed. It will ensure every resident in every neighborhood can benefit from Boston’s success.”

"The past two years have been a transformative period for the BRA/EDIC, and this new identity and refocused mission better reflect our goal to shape an inclusive future for all of Boston's residents and neighborhoods," said Director Brian Golden. "The Boston Planning & Development Agency will better engage with Boston's residents, focus on comprehensive planning and smart development, and work with community partners. This will allow us to inspire greater trust and confidence from the people we serve."

In May, the BRA hired Continuum, a Boston-based global innovation design consultancy to work with the BRA and the public to re-envision the agency’s identity, building upon the reform efforts at the BRA over the past several years under the leadership of Mayor Walsh and Director Brian Golden.  Continuum spent months engaging with, interviewing and holding group workshops with more than BRA employees and board members, residents, business owners, community activists, architects, developers, city agency partners, and members of the media.

To achieve its new mission and vision, the Boston Planning & Development Agency will focus on designing new systems, processes, tools, and communications to address four areas of focus: (1) Engage Communities, (2) Implement New Solutions, (3) Partner for Greater Impact, and (4) Track Progress.

  • Engage Communities: To shape an inclusive Boston, the BPDA will engage a broader and more representative community–the people, businesses and communities of Boston as well as its own employees. The BPDA will create a redesigned community meeting format to provide more context and more clarity, and an online platform for neighborhood-specific updates and feedback. This will ensure that conversations are open, ongoing, and available to all.
  • Implement New Solutions: To be a leader in planning and solve many of the challenges that 21st century cities face, the BPDA will leverage its deep expertise, tap into Boston’s innovative spirit, and capture inspiration from around the world. The BPDA will identify new approaches and collaborate with partners to implement new solutions that positively impact the people of Boston.
  • Partner for Greater Impact: The BPDA will work together with each partner in the most appropriate way, in order to amplify everyone’s efforts, making the sum truly greater than its individual parts. In the end, the collective efforts of many entities will help shape the future of Boston. The agency will launch BPDA+, a program to forge collaborations with nonprofits, businesses, universities, and startups; and host innovation fellowships for leading-edge global experts.
  • Track Progress: To build trust externally and confidence internally, the BPDA will track its progress, and impact. The agency will start with the right measures, use appropriate tools to make tracking simple and translate the results into relatable benefits.
Beginning this fall, planning and development review teams will visit Boston’s neighborhoods together to discuss our renewed approach to community engagement and collaboration.  Building upon the reforms since 2014, the BPDA will continue to implement recommendations from this process over the next 18 months.

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