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

Planning & Zoning

Planning & Zoning (P&Z), a Division within the City of Boston’s Planning Department, manages short- and long-term planning at a variety of scales—hyper-local, neighborhood level, and citywide. P&Z staff work in partnership with residents and stakeholders to develop community plans that imagine Boston’s future while respecting its history. In addition, the team maintains and updates the Boston Zoning Code to protect and grow Boston's distinct neighborhoods and reviews development projects for compliance with the zoning code and alignment with recommendations developed in adopted plans. P&Z engages the public, the Boston Zoning Commission, and the Zoning Board of Appeal through reporting, presentations, and workshops to create places that are livable, ecologically sensitive, and economically thriving.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Planning?

Urban planning, also known as city planning, is a technical process that focuses on land use and physical form with the goal of improving the built environment. Planners consider geographic, demographic, economic, and social tools that impact the way that people interact with and experience places. Our staff partner with residents and stakeholders to shape urban spaces in ways that enhance vibrancy and quality of life, build equity, and address challenges of resiliency and sustainability.

What is Zoning?

Zoning is a critical tool that creates distinct districts that indicate what can be built and where, and how land can be used. Zoning aims to create harmonious, efficient, and sustainable urban environments, while balancing community needs, economic development, and safety, to shape cities and neighborhoods.

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Or call 617.918.4472