Welcome! 欢迎! 歡迎! ¡Bienvenido!

Squares + Streets, a new initiative of the BPDA and the City of Boston, will focus on  mixed-use neighborhood centers along main streets across Boston.

We are looking to enhance small areas that are near transit and already provide essential goods and services for local residents, businesses, and visitors.

Squares + Streets will:

  • Focus on housing, public space, cultural amenities, transit assets etc. that reflect the unique needs of each area
  • Develop a number of Small Area Plans in 6-month timeframes that are shorter, more intentional, more transparent, and more predictable

This project is meant to complement and support Design Vision and Zoning Reform work.

What are Squares + Streets?

Squares + Streets are centers for activity within a neighborhood. They are often important places of gathering that connect residents to essential goods, transit options, services, and job opportunities.

Planning for Squares + Streets is one of the first steps towards what citywide zoning reform might look like. By focusing on key squares and streets across the city, our goal is to develop high-impact, short-term recommendations for areas that can be implemented through zoning.

What are Small Area Plans?

Small Area Plans will zoom in on specific squares and streets throughout Boston’s neighborhoods to make detailed, action-oriented plans. They will focus on the local level and are not neighborhood wide.

Small Area Plans will support housing growth, and provide investment opportunities supported by city services in our neighborhoods.

Once completed, each Small Area Plan will outline near-term implementation actions such as:

  • Modified zoning to support housing and healthy business districts
  • Infrastructure projects to address transportation and public space needs
  • Programs and funding to promote small businesses and arts and culture

Get Involved

As the planning process unfolds, residents, businesses, students, community organizations, and families who spend time at each square and street will help shape this effort.

We hope to bring new voices into this process who will help identify needs and possible solutions to create well-connected, lively areas.

This fall will be focused on engaging residents and stakeholders around the planning process. The BPDA will launch a series of small area plans beginning in 2024.

  • Sign up to the BPDA newsletter to receive project updates.
  • Participate in our brief launch survey. We are collecting information on how you want to shape squares and streets across Boston’s neighborhoods.
  • Join us at our upcoming pop-up events across the city. We'll have fun activities for you to share your thoughts on the process.

We would love to hear your thoughts on Squares + Streets. Take our brief survey and share your thoughts.

Engagement Materials

Upcoming Events

Come chat with a Planner at one of our upcoming pop-up events:

  • Planner Pop-up: Nubian Square Farmers Market, Sat, Sep 16 (11:00 AM – 3:00 PM)
  • Planner Pop-up: Open Streets Dorchester, Sun, Sep 17 (10:00 AM – 2:30 PM)
  • Survey Pop-up: South End Festival, Sun, Sep 17 (11:00 AM – 4:00 PM)
  • Planner Pop-up: Mission Hill Farmers Market - Roxbury Crossing, Tues, Sep 19 (11:00 AM – 2:00 PM)
  • Survey Pop-up: Egleston Farmers Market, Sat, Sep 23 (10:00 AM – 12:00 PM)
  • Survey Pop-up: Field’s Corner T-Stop, Mon, Sep 25 (4:00 PM – 6:00 PM)
  • Survey Pop-up: JFK / UMass T-Stop, Tues, Sep 26 (8:00 AM – 10:00 AM)
  • Survey Pop-up: West Roxbury Roche Brothers Grocery Store, Thurs, Sep 28 (12:00 PM – 2:00 PM)
  • Survey Pop-up: America's Food Basket Hyde Park, Fri, Sep 29 (1:00 PM – 3:00 PM)
  • Planner Pop-up: Codman Square Farmers Market, Sat, Sep 30 (10:00 AM – 2:00 PM)
  • Survey Pop-up: Hyde Park Station, Mon, Oct 2 (4:00 PM – 6:00 PM)
  • Planner Pop-up: Nubian Square Farmers Market, Sat, Oct 7 (11:00 AM – 3:00 PM)

We will update this website and our social media pages with more events in the upcoming weeks.

Why Do Squares + Streets Need Updated Zoning?

Zoning is a set of laws that are used to guide development. In the case of Squares + Streets, zoning can be specifically used to encourage housing growth and diversify amenities in neighborhood centers to meet local needs.

The BPDA’s Zoning Reform team is drafting a zoning amendment that will create new regulations for Squares + Streets districts to be adopted into the Boston Zoning Code. The zoning amendment will update the City’s “base code” (known as Article 8), meaning each Squares + Streets district will eventually be governed by Article 8 of the Code. These new districts will permit a mix of building uses and heights, create housing growth opportunities, and encourage active streets.

Engagement and participation in the Small Area Plan process will be a key part of determining the most appropriate Squares + Streets district for a neighborhood. The zoning district that is selected will be mapped to that neighborhood after its Small Area Plan is completed.