Boston Zoning Commission to Consider ‘Squares and Streets’ Plan

The proposal would reduce barriers to the development of denser housing.

1 minute read

January 16, 2024, 6:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view of downtown Boston, Massachusetts.

Boston, Massachusetts. | Felix Mizioznikov / Adobe Stock

A proposal from the Boston Planning and Development Agency would change the city’s zoning rules to a form-based code designed to make it easier to build denser housing and mixed-use developments, particularly near transit.

As Catherine Carlock explains in the Boston Globe, “It’s a process the city’s calling ‘squares and streets,’ and they hope it serves as an example of how to both modernize the zoning code and to address community needs, all through a lens of long-term sustainability.”

“If the draft squares and streets zoning plan is approved by the city’s Zoning Commission next month, communities and neighborhoods will be able to select from a ‘menu’ of five proposed building types, from ‘transition residential’ and ‘main street living’ — housing and mixed-use buildings capped at 50 feet — to ‘active’ zones allowing buildings as high as 85 feet with street-level retail with housing, office or other commercial space above.”

While specific sites have not been selected for denser development, the city points out there are areas near transit stops that could benefit from more housing.

Monday, January 8, 2024 in The Boston Globe

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