Department Mission

Planning is the process of creating long-term visions for places and communities as small as an intersection and as large as a region. Planning takes advantage of, and seeks to influence the social, economic, physical, and natural factors affecting a community. In Boston, a city that contains a rich mix of distinctive neighborhoods, historic districts, universities, hospitals, and natural landforms, planning occurs at the streetscape, neighborhood, and institutional scales. The Boston Planning & Development Agency Planning Department works closely with community members, other local stakeholders, and other agencies to create plans that create an appropriate context for new development while respecting the City of Boston's historic character and its future aspirations. The Department aims to create places that are livable, ecologically sensitive, and economically thriving.

Role at the Agency

Planning at the BPDA is an iterative process, which involves community engagement, expert consultants, and the input of experienced BPDA planning and design staff. Resulting plans are comprehensive documents, which articulate broad community goals as well as outline physical development opportunities and guidelines. The BPDA's current planning documents can be viewed on the Current Planning Initiatives page.

The Planning Department work influences many other departments across the BPDA, including Development Review and Urban Design. New planning initiatives may result in zoning changes, and the BPDA Zoning Reform Team facilitates the codification of these changes into the zoning code. The staff of the Development Review Department works with developers to ensure that project proposals fit within these planning frameworks for neighborhood and institutional plans.

Outside the BPDA, Planning works closely with many other departments, including the Mayor's Office of Housing, Transportation, and Environment departments. The Transportation Department, along with the MBTA, may initiate projects that inspire a plan or help to execute transportation improvements that support a neighborhood plan.


Within Planning, three divisions collaborate closely. The Comprehensive Planning Division works at the neighborhood level and assists communities with articulating and implementing local plans, as well as leads citywide planning initiatives that touch every neighborhood in Boston. The Zoning Reform Team works directly with the Boston Zoning Code, updating the code to be more efficient and laking large scale amendments to ensure all planning efforts are codified into zoning with a focus on resilience, affordability, and equity. The Transportation and Infrastructure Planning Division plans sustainable and reliable transportation and infrastructure systems while working collaboratively with communities, private sector groups, and other government agencies.


Aimee Chambers, Director of Planning
James Fitzgerald, Deputy Director of Transportation & Infrastructure Planning
Caitlin Coppinger, Deputy Director of Comprehensive Planning
Kathleen Onufer, Deputy Director of Zoning
Theodore Schwartzberg, Assistant Deputy Director of Zoning Compliance
Emma Hunter, Assistant to the Director of Planning