Marty believes planning is essential to developing our city in a way that preserves and enhances our neighborhoods, while encouraging inclusive growth. During the 2013 campaign trail, Marty heard loud and clear that parcel-by-parcel planning wasn’t working, and that both builders and communities were looking for certainty and consistency. He also heard that transparency and openness were needed in a process that had too often been closed and secretive. As mayor, he has responded by expanding and elevating planning work, inviting every Bostonian to be a part of the process, and achieving Boston’s first citywide plan in more than 50 years.

Marty’s Record

  • Released Imagine Boston 2030. Boston’s first comprehensive plan in 50 years, Imagine Boston is a responsive and equitable roadmap–and, after engagement by 15,000 residents, a mandate–for sustainable growth throughout the city.
  • Began implementing Imagine Boston directly through equitable investments in the FY2018-2022 Capital Plan.
  • Launched more granular planning in Plan JP/Rox, Plan Dudley and Plan Glover’s Corner, using Imagine Boston 2030 values as a guide, and employing new and more robust engagement techniques. These planning processes are producing new development guidelines — and ultimately new zoning — that will maximize public benefit and establish predictability going forward.
  • Oversaw departmental collaboration so that the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) incorporates other plans such as Climate Ready Boston, Housing a Changing City, Go Boston 2030, Boston Creates, Age-Friendly Boston and more into land use planning efforts.
  • Revamped the BPDA’s web presence, including enhancements to the website that illustrate the process timeline for development projects and include uploads of presentations and documents.
  • Instituted a range of meeting types, including open house style, pop-up office hours, neighborhood walk/bike tours and virtual gatherings that allow for more engagement in specific impact/issue areas, and to encourage participation by new people in the process.
  • Designed meetings about process, not tied to a specific project, focusing on a greater public understanding of how the agency works.
  • Created a transparent new system for the disposition of public land that provides data including current conditions, trends, and key metrics and acknowledges all prior planning work. This system establishes community involvement from start to finish.
  • Developed a new standardized application process to disburse community benefits funding, releasing millions of dollars to community nonprofits in neighborhoods across the city.
  • Instituted multi-disciplinary planning, ensuring that all planning processes involve a cross-departmental team that might include staff from the Boston Public Health Commission, Education, Immigrant Advancement, Workforce Development, Transportation, Environment, Parks, the Mayor’s Office and more, resulting in more comprehensive planning.
  • Strengthened Boston’s inclusionary development (IDP) program, to incentivize building affordable housing for a range of incomes in every neighborhood. 2016 was a record year for the IDP fund, with $23.7 million paid in, representing 24 percent of all payments made since the inception of the IDP program in 2000. $42.8 million in new funds were also committed to the fund in connection with the 2016 BPDA Board approved projects.
  • Increased compliance in linkage, loan programs, rent collection and other developer obligations, and directed IDP money to go straight to the Department of Neighborhood Development for affordable housing investment.
  • Linkage payments increased from an average of $8.3 million in the 2010-2013 period to $12 million in 2014-2017, for a total of $40.7 million directed to affordable housing and $7.5 million toward workforce development in Mayor Walsh’s first term.
  • Worked with developers and community members to extract more and better public realm commitments and other community benefits.
  • Commissioned a cultural facilities study to provide data to be used when working with developers to activate their sites and provide space to non-profit cultural organizations.
  • Appointed new senior leadership in the BPDA, with all senior staff being new to their positions, and the majority now being women.
  • Relaunched the agency as the BPDA, to show a commitment to a new way of working and reflect the mission to plan and guide inclusive growth in Boston.

Marty’s Plan

  • Use the new citywide plan, Imagine Boston 2030, to guide inclusive growth across Boston.
  • Continue to work with developers to maximize parks, cultural space, transportation investments and other public realm enhancements.
  • Continue more granular neighborhood planning, using planning and zoning tools to address the specific challenges faced by various neighborhoods, such as housing displacement, health disparities, space for local businesses, and flexibility for advanced industrial and maker space alongside other compatible uses.
  • Prepare for climate change by establishing Climate Ready Zoning that incorporates future flood risks and advances opportunities for net carbon zero buildings.