News & Updates

Boston signs onto Commonwealth Development Compact

May 08, 2023

Chief of Planning Arthur Jemison today signed onto the Commonwealth Development Compact on behalf of Mayor Michelle Wu and the City of Boston, in partnership with other Massachusetts cities. The commitments within the Compact align with the current diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies advanced by the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) for both public land dispositions and private development. The Compact also commits the municipalities to “fostering a real estate development industry that assures ready access to the economic and social benefits of real estate development to all the people and businesses of the Commonwealth.”

“I am excited that the ongoing work of the BPDA will become the standard for this initial cohort of municipalities, and hope that it inspires other cities and towns to join this effort,” said Chief of Planning Arthur Jemison. “We look forward to working with our partner cities moving forward on how we can drive a greater impact toward economic advancement of historically underrepresented populations.”

Chief Jemison was joined by the mayors of Cambridge, Somerville, Salem, and Lynn in signing the Compact. By signing onto this document, the City of Boston will participate in a pilot program of what will be known as the Commonwealth Development Model, which intends to collect data on the makeup of current and future development projects.

This will be an extension of the work that is ongoing at the BPDA. First announced in August of 2022, the Agency instituted a new policy to promote diversity within large private development projects in the City of Boston. The BPDA’s policy requests that proponents disclose plans to include economic participation, employment, and management roles for people of color, women, and certified Minority and Women Owned Businesses within their projects. Since August of 2022, the BPDA has received over 26 DEI Plan Disclosures.

In addition, beginning in 2018, all Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for the redevelopment of BPDA-owned land required respondents to outline a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion plan. This measures the extent to which proposals plan to include significant economic participation and management roles by people of color, women, and M/WBEs in as many aspects of the project as possible. In 2020, the BPDA began weighing this criterion at 25% for all RFPs. Since 2018, the BPDA has released at least 23 RFPs and designated 13 development projects.

About the Commonwealth Development Compact

With the support and partnership of the Eastern Bank Foundation, three organizations – the Civic Action Project (CAP), the Boston Society for Architecture (BSA), and the Builders of Color Coalition (BCC) – have partnered to create the CommonWealth Development Compact, designed to build economic opportunity for minority and women-owned firms, who have historically been vastly under-represented in private real estate development.

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