Urban Design

Boston Civic Design Commission

The Boston Civic Design Commission (BCDC) provides a forum for the general public and professional design community to participate in the shaping of the city's physical form and natural environment. Members of the Commission are seasoned design professionals with a deep understanding of local context. They are charged with critiquing the aesthetics of proposed development projects and ensuring that the projects have a positive impact on the city's public realm. 

The BCDC holds public meetings Tuesday evenings. The first Tuesday of each month (unless noted otherwise) is the Monthly Commission Meeting, when the Commission reviews new projects and votes to recommend projects to the BPDA Board. The subsequent Tuesdays are working sessions with project teams and smaller groups of Commissioners, where feedback and recommendations are provided on a project's design. Interested citizens are invited to participate, and representatives of the Boston Society of Architects and the Boston Society of Landscape Architects regularly attend to share their opinions. 

The Monthly Meeting dates for 2021 are as follows:

  • Tuesday, January 5, 2021
  • Tuesday, February 2, 2021
  • Tuesday, March 2, 2021
  • Tuesday April 6, 2021
  • Tuesday, May 4, 2021
  • Tuesday, June 1, 2021
  • Tuesday, June 8, 2021
  • Tuesday, July 6, 2021
  • Tuesday, August 3, 2021
  • Tuesday, September 7, 2021
  • Tuesday, October 5, 2021
  • Tuesday, November 2, 2021
  • Tuesday, December 7, 2021

The BCDC Review Criteria include:

  • new or rehabilitated structures over 100,000 square feet;
  • projects of special significance or projects that, by the determination of the BCDC members, will have a special urban design significance in the City;
  • civic projects involving changes to parks, civic or cultural centers or monuments;
  • and "District Design Guidelines" — any comprehensive set of rules adopted by the Boston Redevelopment Authority Board of Directors and established to preserve and enhance the characteristics of a specific district within the City of Boston; these rules include the heights, setbacks, massing, scale, and materials of buildings, as well as the special features that make the district a distinct subarea of Boston.

Design aspects of particular importance to the BCDC include: 

  • design of streets and public walkways, 
  • design of public spaces, 
  • design of buildings, 
  • and protection of the overall character of Boston.

Before presenting to the BCDC, project proponents should review the following documents:

For more information, please contact Elizabeth Stifel, Executive Director of the Boston Civic Design Commission, at [email protected] or by telephone at 617.918.4436.

  • Boston Planning & Development Agency
  • One City Hall Square, Boston, MA 02201
  • Tel: 617.722.4300  Fax: 617.248.1937
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