Wu Announces New BPDA Policy To Increase Diversity in Private Development Projects

Mayor Michelle Wu on August 11 announced a new policy for the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) to increase diversity in private development projects.

“Boston is a growing city; we want to keep it that way,” Wu said at the press conference held in her office at City Hall.

“The policy will call on large developers proposing new projects to disclose their plans to include women and people of color in their projects in every part of their teams,” she said. “This is about ensuring that success is spread across our communities, while incentivizing sustainable growth and creating more transparent, predictable processes.”’

District 7 City Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson said that “like any other policy, I think that it’s important that we collaborate or partner with the city departments. I look forward to working with Chief [Arthur] Jemison as well as everyone else in the departments; administration; Mayor Wu, in order for us to create access to community.”

She said that “I am invested in the work; I look forward to doing more collaboration.”

City Councilor At-Large Erin Murphy also said “I am here to uplift the mayor’s new policy, which is very exciting,” as well as making sure that the Council enacts other policies moving forward.

Chief of Planning Arthur Jemison said that this policy is a “request that proponents disclose a [Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)] plan whenever the developer proposes a project over 20,000 square feet. The plan will include economic participation and employment and management roles for people of color, women, and certified M/WBEs within the scope of the project.”

He continued, “it’s responsive to our commitment to advancing economic development opportunities in the real estate sector for everyone.”

According to a press release from the city, the BPDA will use the requested plans “for informational purposes to understand disparities in the real estate market, increase M/WBE participation over time, and evaluate strategies to drive greater impact.”

This new policy comes alongside other “ongoing transformations at the BPDA,” according to the release, including planning-led development, hiring and organizational change, hiring a Deputy Chief of Urban Design, and last month, adopting a decarbonization strategy for BPDA property.

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