Boston is well-known as a hub of world-renowned universities and hospitals. Many of these facilities are located in the heart of the city’s residential neighborhoods where campus institutional development can have significant effects on the surrounding community. The City created Institutional Master Plan (IMP) Review in order to ensure that the expansion of a hospital or university enhances the institution’s public service and economic development role in the surrounding community and city.

An Institutional Master Plan is a comprehensive development plan that describes an institution’s existing facilities, long-range planning goals, and proposed projects. IMPs also identify potential impacts on surrounding communities, and outline proposed community benefits. The process of creating Institutional Master Plans ensures that campus evolution occurs in a thoughtful and transparent manner.

Institutional Master Plan review is overseen by a team of project managers and planners. Each institution works closely with a single project manager, who guides the institution through the overall IMP review process as well as review processes for individual campus projects.

Role at the Agency

Institutional Master Plan (IMP) review is required by Article 80 for hospitals, colleges, and universities with more than 150,000 SF of gross square feet of property. Generally, IMPs are renewed every ten years and reviewed under the BPDA's Article 80 process. In addition, an institution must update, renew, and amend its Institutional Master Plan whenever it adds or changes any project over a minimum threshold. Each of these planned projects will go through its own Article 80 review.


Project managers help to connect institutions and their surrounding communities by facilitating public meetings, dialogues, and task forces related to institutional development.

The steps for Institutional Master Plan Review are as follows:

  1. An institution submits an Institutional Master Plan Notification Form (IMPNF) to the BPDA. The IMPNF summarizes the information the institution will present in its master plan, including a description of any new projects the plan will propose.
  2. The public may submit comments on the IMPNF.
  3. The BPDA reviews the IMPNF and public comments, and issues a Scoping Determination. The Scoping Determination guides the institution as it writes its Institutional Master Plan (IMP).
  4. The institution submits its IMP, which is then reviewed by the BPDA. The BPDA will issue an Adequacy Determination which will approve, disapprove, or place conditions on the IMP.
  5. The Zoning Commission must then approve an IMP.
  6. The Mayor issues final zoning approval.
  7. Institutions are responsible for updating their plans every two years, describing the progress of projects on campus.
  8. Institutions must amend their IMPs if they wish to include new projects in the plan.
  9. Institutions must renew the plans periodically (usually every 10 years). IMP renewal follows the same process as IMP approval (Steps 1-6).