Boston Gets a New Planning Department

After 67 years since its formation, the Boston Planning and Development Agency is no more.

1 minute read

April 1, 2024, 6:00 AM PDT

By Mary Hammon @marykhammon

Aerial view of downtown Boston, Massachusetts.

Felix Mizioznikov / Adobe Stock

According to local nonprofit news station WBUR, the Boston City Council voted last week to shift planning authority away from the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), “a body that’s reshaped much of the city in the 20th century,” to the newly minted Boston Planning Department. “The move allows Mayor Michelle Wu to deliver on a promise to reshape the way Boston does urban planning,” writes WBUR reporter Simón Rios.

The BPDA has long faced criticism for lack of oversight and transparency, and for prioritizing developers over neighborhoods and community residents. The new Boston Planning department will take over many of the staff and responsibilities of the BPDA, including oversight of large developments, but under the new structure, planning officials will now work for the city, allowing them to be called to testify in front of the city council, which the mayor’s office says will create greater oversight. Critics call the move a power grab by the mayor.

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