Downtown & Neighborhood Planning

Department Mission

The BPDA's Downtown & Neighborhood Planning Department works with Boston's communities to create long-term plans that help foster the development of attractive, safe, diverse, and economically thriving places to live, work and play. Planning efforts engage local residents, businesses, agencies, and institutions in guiding the future character of Boston's unique neighborhoods and districts.

The Downtown & Neighborhood Planning Department works at the neighborhood level to create community visions that look at current assets and opportunities for future growth to enhance the quality of life. Planners explore the issues of land use, housing needs, open space, transportation and multimodal networks, and economic development with community members. The envisioned plans, informed by the community's input, guide future development scenarios and may result in:

  • urban design guidelines,
  • master plans,
  • zoning recommendations, and/or
  • other policy changes.


The Downtown & Neighborhood Planning Department is staffed by a team of professional urban planners. BPDA planners help facilitate the planning process through a series of public meetings as needed. They also act as liaisons between a neighborhood and development interests, ensuring that proposed development for a given area fits a community’s plan and zoning.


Kennan Rhyne, Deputy Director for Downtown & Neighborhood Planning 
Kathleen Onufer, Assistant Deputy Director for Downtown & Neighborhood Planning

For more information, please contact Naoise McDonnell, Planning Assistant.