Latest Updates

Downtown Draft Zoning Amendment

Please join staff for a virtual public meeting on  July 10 , 2024 from 6:00 - 7:00 PM to review a final draft of Downtown zoning amendments that modernize land uses and enable more growth, housing, and businesses Downtown. 

The BPDA released the draft zoning text amendment for Downtown on April 10, 2024. 

A public comment period on the draft amendment is open until June 4, 2024. Please submit comments using this survey. Revised text amendments may then go to the BPDA Board and then the Boston Zoning Commission for approval.

Downtown Draft zoning amendment:

Virtual Office Hours

Please register to attend office hours to ask questions about the draft amendment.

Afternoon (12:30 PM - 1:30 PM)

Evening (6:00 PM - 7:00 PM)

The BPDA Board of Directors adopted the PLAN: Downtown planning initiative at a board meeting on December 14, 2023. The community planning process, which started in 2018, establishes a new framework for the growth, enhancement, and preservation of Downtown Boston as a 24-hour neighborhood, balancing livability, affordability, walkability, climate change preparedness, access to open space, and a dynamic mix of uses. PLAN: Downtown includes recommendations regarding growth and preservation, mobility, open space, and climate change resiliency. The plan also includes design guidelines to help shape future Downtown development projects, policy actions to implement the goals of the plan, and key zoning considerations to inform future zoning changes.

Study Overview | 规划:市区概况

Over the last decade, Boston’s Downtown has transformed from primarily a business district into a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood. Associated with this transformation and the marked increase in development proposals is a clear need to plan for the future of Downtown comprehensively.

Building on past studies, the primary goal of the study will be to develop a new framework for the preservation, enhancement, and growth of the Downtown area of the City of Boston, while balancing the importance of livability, daylight, walkability, climate change, access to open space, affordability, and a dynamic mix of uses, among others. As one of the most diverse places in the City, due in part to its accessibility, it is necessary to encourage growth that is inclusive for all. Supporting a thriving Downtown environment that is responsive to the 21st century needs of residents, businesses, and visitors is critical to Boston’s continued success as an important American city.

PLAN: Downtown Preliminary Study Area Boundary
Study Area Boundary
 | 研究边区位置 | Límite del Área de Estudio

Draft PLAN: Downtown Goals | 起草目标

The BPDA hosted a Vision Workshop with the Downtown & Chinatown communities to prioritize values and goals for this planning initiative. Community members who could not attend the workshop were encouraged to complete an online survey. The feedback received through the Vision Workshop, Vision Survey, along with the December Open House, two Advisory Group meetings, and various informal engagement “pop-ups” shaped the draft project goals. The draft project goals will be used to guide this planning process moving forward.

Vision: Develop a new framework for the preservation, enhancement, and growth of Downtown Boston as a place for all, balancing livability, daylight, walkability, climate change preparedness, access to open space, affordability, and a dynamic mix of uses.

Plan: Downtown will...

  1. Promote dense, mixed-use development, and grow and diversify active ground-floor uses, especially legacy and small businesses.

  2. Enhance access to housing and amenities Downtown for all levels of affordability, stages of life, and backgrounds.

  3. Preserve cultural heritage, historic building fabric, and embrace distinctive histories to create a unique and cohesive Downtown.

  4. Strengthen connections to and throughout Downtown, with a focus on active transportation, transit, and other non-vehicular modes of transportation.

  5. Improve existing public spaces and create new ones that invigorate downtown year-round.

  6. Ensure new and existing spaces and development projects are resilient and mitigate climate change impacts.

Timeline | 时间段

PLAN: Downtown Timeline
PLAN: Downtown Timeline

Advisory Group | 顾问团

As part of the PLAN: Downtown process, the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) sought nominations for community members to serve on an Advisory Group (AG).  Members of the AG will assist the City’s planning team in several tasks related to the initiative including:

  • Community outreach efforts
  • Reviewing the consultant’s tasks and their findings
  • Evaluating existing conditions analyses
  • Participating in the development of a vision, goals, and principles for the Future Downtown
  • Assessing development scenarios and their associated impacts
  • Proposing viable recommendations that will ultimately inform new urban design and development guidelines and potential zoning regulations

Advisory Group | 顾问团成员

Barbara Boylan Joshua Leffler
Lauren Cambell Angie Liou
Paul Chan Lydia Lowe
George Coorssen Herb Lozano
Alison Frazee Beatrice Nessen
Arturo Gossage Michael J. Nichols
Gilbert Ho Mary Ann Ponti
Peggy Ings Joyce Sanchez
Karen LaFrazia Rishi Shukla
Suzanne Lavoie Tony Ursillo

Ex-Offico Members

State Representative Aaron Michlewitz
State Senator Lydia Edwards
City Councilor Ed Flynn
Roger Mann, Senior Director of Real Estate at the MBTA

Previous Events | 社区参

PLAN: Downtown Zoning Update Public Meeting

Tuesday, April 9, 2024 | 6:00 PM-7:30 PM

This virtual public meeting provided an initial overview of the draft zoning amendments for Downtown. The meeting also gave an overview of an upcoming Downtown Historic Character Study that will be conducted with the assistance of the Boston Landmarks Commission to help inform preservation priorities and development project review Downtown.

Presentation | Recording

PLAN: Downtown Public Meeting

Wednesday, November 8, 2023 | 6:00 PM-7:30 PM

The Draft PLAN: Downtown report was posted on August 21, 2023 and a public comment period was open until September 18, 2023.

Presentation | 演示 (中文) | Recording

PLAN: Downtown Feedback Public Meeting

Wednesday, September 13, 2023 | 6:00 PM–7:00 PM

An additional opportunity to provide feedback on PLAN: Downtown and its recommendations. The planning team and Chief Jemison responded to comments and questions and shared the PLAN's overall approach. The draft PLAN: Downtown report was released on August 21, 2023.

Presentation | 演示 (中文) | Recording

Draft PLAN: Downtown Release Public Meeting

Thursday, August 24, 2023 | 6:00 PM–7:30 PM

Presentation | 演示 (中文) | Recording

PLAN: Downtown Advisory Group Meeting

Wednesday, August 16, 2023 | 6:00 PM–7:30 PM

Presentation | Recording

PLAN: Downtown Advisory Group Meeting

Tuesday, June 13, 2023 | 5:30 PM–7:00 PM

Presentation | Recording

Downtown Office Conversion Study - 办公室改造

Thursday, May 4, 2023 | 6:00 PM–7:30 PM

The PLAN: Downtown team hosted a virtual public meeting to discuss the ongoing Downtown Office Conversion Study. The meeting explored the obstacles and opportunities of converting underutilized office space to new uses Downtown.

Presentation | 演示 (中文) | Recording

PLAN: Downtown - Ladder Blocks Walkthrough

Tuesday, April 4, 2023 | 9:00 AM–11:00 AM

Downtown Crossing, Summer Street at Washington Street, Boston, MA 02108

Boston by Foot, the Boston Preservation Alliance, and the PLAN: Downtown team led a walk through Downtown's Ladder Blocks. The walkthrough started in Downtown Crossing at the corner of Summer Street and Washington Street and continued through the Ladder Blocks, exploring the neighborhood's rich history, it's historic sites, and preservation efforts in the area.

PLAN: Downtown Advisory Group Meeting | Monday, February 27, 2023 | 6:00 PM–7:30 PM

Presentation | Recording

PLAN: Downtown - Chinatown Walkthrough | Thursday, February 23, 2023 | 3:00 PM–5:00 PM

Chinatown Gate, John F Fitzgerald Surface Road & Beach Street, Boston, MA 02111

The PLAN: Downtown team hosted a walk through Chinatown to discuss and give feedback on the recently proposed zoning recommendations for the area.

PLAN: Downtown Office Hours

The PLAN: Downtown team held office hours to discuss the Plan’s latest draft development scenario for Downtown and Chinatown.

PLAN: Downtown Advisory Group Meeting | Thursday, February 9, 2023 from 6:00 PM–7:30 PM

Presentation | Recording

Development Scenario Update | Tuesday, January 17, 2023 from 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Presentation | 演示 (中文) | Recording

This meeting provided a closer look at the preservation, growth-balanced scenario, and refinements for Downtown and Chinatown based on public feedback.

Planning Recap and Scenarios Workshop | Wednesday, December 14, 2022 from 6:00 PM–7:30 PM

Presentation | 演示 (中文) | Recording

This workshop provided an overview of the remaining PLAN: Downtown process and sought feedback from the community on how the past planning work can be refined to address the impact of the pandemic on the area and revitalize Downtown and Chinatown.

PLAN: Downtown Relaunch Kick-off Event | November 9, 2022 from 4:00 PM–6:00 PM


The PLAN: Downtown team relaunched the planning process at an outdoor kick-off event on November 9 in Downtown Crossing.

Scenarios Workshop | 计划:市中心方案讨论会 | January 30, 2019 at 6:00 PM

Agenda (Includes Goals) | Presentation | Reference Maps | Previous Feedback Summary

日程安排 | 演示 | 地图

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) with City of Boston team members invited the Downtown and Chinatown community to discuss the PLAN: Downtown development scenarios. The planning team presented an overview of current zoning, followed by two future scenario options for rethinking preservation and growth in Downtown and Chinatown. The goal of this session was for community members to help the planning team narrow down to one preferred scenario and provide input into the next round of updates to the preferred scenario.

Advisory Group Meeting #8 | 咨询小组会议#8 | December 18, 2019

Agenda | Visions, Goals Strategies | Feedback Boards

The eighth Advisory Group (AG) meeting for PLAN: Downtown was a working session focused on small group discussions and prioritizing the draft planning recommendations.

AG #7—Development Scenarios | 咨询小组会议#7 | November 20, 2019

Agenda | Presentation | Notes (forthcoming) | 日程安排 (中文) | 演示 (中文)

If you are unable to see the animations embedded within the AG#7 Presentation then please visit the links below. The animations are for illustrative purposes only.

Current Conditions Animation | Scenario 1 Animation | Scenario 2 Animation

The seventh Advisory Group (AG) meeting for PLAN: Downtown focused on the development scenarios.

Community Priorities Workshop | 社区重点工作研讨会 | October 24, 2019

Agenda | Vision, Goals, and Strategies | Presentation | Boards | Feedback Boards

日程安排 (中文) | 起草愿景和目标 (中文) | 演示 (中文)

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) in collaboration with other City of Boston departments invited the Downtown and Chinatown community to participate in the PLAN: Downtown Community Priorities Workshop. The workshop updated participants on the planning work completed to date and explored the preliminary planning recommendations and public space improvements identified by PLAN: Downtown. Themes included Growth & Preservation, Climate & Resiliency, and Mobility & Public Space. Participants aided the planning team in prioritizing the preliminary list of recommendations by geographic area, including Chinatown, Downtown Crossing, the Financial District, the Theater District, and the Wharf District.

AG #6—Community Priorities | 咨询小组会议#6 | September 25, 2019

Agenda | Presentation | Feedback | Notes日程安排 (中文) | 演示 (中文) 

The sixth Advisory Group (AG) meeting for PLAN: Downtown focused on community priorities and draft planning recommendations.

AG #5—Mobility & Public Realm | 咨询小组会议#5 | July 17, 2019

Agenda | Presentation | Notes | 日程安排 (中文) | 演示 (中文)

The fifth Advisory Group (AG) meeting for PLAN: Downtown focused on mobility and the public realm.

AG #4—Climate & Resiliency | 咨询小组会议#4 | June 20, 2019

Agenda | Presentation | Notes | 日程安排 (中文)演示 (中文)

The fourth Advisory Group (AG) meeting for PLAN: Downtown focused on climate and resiliency.

AG #3—Preservation & Growth | 咨询小组会议#3 | May 22, 2019

Agenda | Presentation | Notes | 日程安排 (中文) | 演示 (中文)

The third Advisory Group (AG) meeting focused on preservation and growth and the draft goals for PLAN: Downtown.

Vision Workshop | 愿景研讨会 | April 30, 2019

Future of Downtown Feedback | Map-based Feedback

The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) in collaboration with other City of Boston departments invited the Downtown community to participate in the PLAN: Downtown Vision Workshop. The workshop explored and prioritized draft values & goals for this planning initiative. The event began with a brief presentation explaining the PLAN: Downtown initiative. Attendees then broke into small groups to discuss priorities for the planning initiative. Community members who could not attend the Workshop were encouraged to complete an online survey. This survey replicated some of the discussion questions from the PLAN: Downtown Vision Workshop. Responses to this survey are currently being compiled and will be shared anonymously with the Vision Workshop feedback on the project website. 

AG #2—Existing Conditions | 咨询小组会议#2 | April 24, 2019

Agenda | Presentation | Notes | 日程安排 (中文) | 演示 (中文)

The second Advisory Group (AG) meeting for PLAN: Downtown focused on existing conditions and the character areas.

AG #1—Project Overview | 咨询小组会议#1 | March 7, 2019

Agenda | Presentation | Notes |  Advisory Group Member List | Advisory Group Roles & Responsibilities | Open House Summary Booklet

日程安排 (中文) | 演示 (中文) | Advisory Group Member List (中文) | Advisory Group Roles & Responsibilities (中文) | Open House Summary Booklet (中文) | Open House Summary Booklet (Español)

The first Advisory Group (AG) meeting for PLAN: Downtown introduced the planning team and AG members as well as provided an update on the current status of PLAN: Downtown.

Open House & Project Kick-off | 项目启动活动及 开放日 | December 3, 2018

Presentation Boards & Gathered Feedback | Presentation | Summary Brochure | Significant Landmark & Places Feedback | Neighborhood Profiles: Downtown | Photo Slideshow of Downtown Through Time | Smart Model Demonstration

Presentation Boards & Gathered Feedback (中文) | Brochure (中文) | Significant Landmark & Places Feedback (中文) | Open House Brochure (Español)

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Planning Team and other City departments kicked off the PLAN: Downtown on December 3, 2018 from 4–7 pm. The session offered opportunities for visitors to learn about the goals of the Plan, to share ideas for Downtown, and to discover how to participate in shaping the Plan’s outcomes. Over one hundred and twenty residents, workers, business and property owners, students, advocates, and other visitors interested in the future of Downtown Boston attended the Open House.

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