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This is the website for the City of Boston’s new Planning Department, which launched on July 1. The staff and many responsibilities of the Boston Planning & Development Agency have moved to the Planning Department of the City of Boston including planning & zoning, urban design, development review, and real estate divisions. Please excuse any misalignment you may see on our site as we transition to the City. Learn more

Urban Renewal


In 2023, Mayor Wu and the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) sought and received from the City Council an extension of two years on 12 Urban Renewal plans. This ensured that we didn’t lose the important land use protections – Land Disposition Agreements (LDAs) – that are currently maintaining income-restricted housing, open space, community use, and other important benefits for the City. In addition to the extension, in 2023, the Council sent a Home Rule Petition to the Massachusetts State House to simultaneously end Urban Renewal while retaining the BPDA’s ability to enforce the important restrictions in the LDAs.

To best understand the impact of these LDAs, the BPDA created an Urban Renewal Dashboard to track and view these protections at the LDA and Parcel levels. The data in this map is based on years of meticulous research into the legal agreements and protections that have been put in place related to Urban Renewal areas. The dashboard is designed to show the impact that existing Urban Renewal Areas have and the covenants that are being protected by existing Urban Renewal plans. In this viewer, we have incorporated the critical 302a section of the legal agreements, which describe exactly what is being protected. We also show a level of detail on what is being protected.

Urban Renewal is a term that came out of economic and societal changes occurring in the 1950s and for the next two decades with the rise of cars and disinvestment in urban centers. At that time, Boston leaders championed Urban Renewal programs to redevelop areas across the City that qualified as blighted, decadent, or substandard. However, instead of rebuilding the communities that were dismantled, these tools were often used to replace middle-class housing with high-cost units that displaced residents couldn’t afford. The most egregious example of displacement was the complete demolition of the working-class West End neighborhood, which was replaced mostly by luxury towers. In the West End, Downtown, South End, Roxbury, and Charlestown, Urban Renewal was used to replace blighted and substandard housing. Within the impacted neighborhoods, LDAs – contracts between the BPDA and new owners – were created to protect land use interests for a greater good.

Today, nearly 12,000 units of income-restricted housing, 1.8 million square feet of open space, and dozens of core city institutions such as senior housing facilities, community and recreational space, and historic sites are protected by these LDAs. In most cases, the LDAs are voided upon sunsetting the Urban Renewal plan area to which they are attached.

An expiration of the twelve active Urban Renewal plans before the home rule petition is adopted with protections for transferring existing land use protections would risk dissolution of the land use agreements that protect community values – affordable housing, open space, and other community-oriented land use restrictions currently enforced under the plans. Through the Home Rule, the Mayor is asking that the Planning Department continue to protect these agreements, in order to continue advancing the resiliency, affordability, and community development goals of the city.

Background information on the BRA’s 2016 urban renewal extension can be found here.

For additional information and general inquiries, please contact [email protected].

For further information, please contact the Suffolk Registry of Deeds.

Boston City Council Updates

February 13, 2023

March 22, 2022

September 19, 2019

May 10, 2019

October 18, 2018

March 2, 2018

April 10, 2017

September 30, 2016

Recent Community Meetings

Charlestown Urban Renewal Plan Parcel R-11D-2a Public Meeting

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Meeting Video Recording & Presentation

Urban Renewal Community Meeting: Downtown Waterfront Faneuil Hall

Monday, July 26, 2021

Meeting Video Recording & Presentations

Urban Renewal Community Meeting: Park Plaza

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Meeting Video Recording & Presentations

Urban Renewal Community Meeting: Central Business District

Monday, May 17, 2021

Meeting Video Recording & Presentations

Minor Modification to Urban Renewal Plan (South End) Public Meeting

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Meeting Video Recording & Presentation

Urban Renewal Virtual Community Meeting: West End

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Meeting Video Recording & Presentation

Urban Renewal Documents All Related Documents »

Share Your Thoughts

We want to hear from you! All questions, comments and ideas are welcome. Comments are received and reviewed by members of the Urban Renewal team.

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