Mayor Walsh announces release of Imagine Boston 2030 Draft Plan to expand opportunity, guide strategic growth

  |   Expanding Opportunity

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the release of Expanding Opportunity, Imagine Boston 2030’s draft plan of priority action areas and major initiatives that will support a thriving city by expanding opportunity, supporting a dynamic economy, enhancing quality of life, and preparing for climate change. This plan was shaped by more than 12,000 residents who offered feedback as part of an extensive community engagement effort aimed at reaching residents in every corner of the city. Engagement efforts will continue through the release of the final plan next year.

“Imagine Boston 2030 offers a citywide perspective of Boston’s future that ties together our many planning initiatives already underway to guide strategic growth and expand opportunity for all residents,” said Mayor Walsh. “I am excited to launch a draft plan that identifies ways to strengthen neighborhoods and support growth for years to come. This plan represents the voice of thousands of residents who shared their thoughts, and I look forward to continuing the conversation so together we can build the future of Boston.”

Imagine Boston identifies five action areas to strengthen neighborhood vitality and bolster Boston’s economy. A breakdown of these action areas is available through Imagine Boston 2030’s storymap, and are included below:

  • Enhance neighborhoods: Improve public realm, strengthen neighborhood services and connectivity, and encourage contextually sensitive development to improve urban vitality and to affirm each neighborhood’s distinct identity.
  • Encourage mixed-use job centers: Continue to encourage dense mixed-use development and public improvements in the commercial cores, such as the Downtown and Longwood, to support job growth and new housing opportunities, add amenities, and create active centers for residents, workers, and visitors.
  • Expand neighborhoods: Provide significant new mixed-use housing and encourage job growth in transit-accessible areas at the edges of existing neighborhoods to reduce housing-price pressure, expand access to opportunity, and stitch together the physical fabric of the city.
  • Create a waterfront for future generations: Encourage an active public realm and new open spaces, support existing and emerging job and housing centers, and ensure proactive climate planning and investment to create a waterfront that serves all Bostonians and supports future generations.
  • Generate networks of opportunity: Target coordinated investments to expand opportunity for residents and strengthen physical, economic and social connections between historically underserved neighborhoods and the city’s existing and emerging economic centers.

By enhancing and expanding neighborhoods, and encouraging mixed-use job centers, Boston will be able to accommodate the approximately 829,000 jobs and 724,000 residents the city is projected to have by 2030, and be positioned to keep growing toward 2050.These action areas are founded on the bedrock of a set of strategic initiatives, which collectively help Boston acheive residents’ goals:

  • Housing: Creating quality neighborhoods that are affordable by creating more deed-restricted low, moderate, and middle income housing through inclusionary development, density bonuses and other tools, and preserve existing affordable housing by instituting robust anti-displacement policies.
  • Education: Creating an educational system that supports Bostonians from birth to career, including universal Pre-K and the expansion of free community college programs.
  • Economic Mobility and Development: Supporting continued growth of Boston’s strongest sectors and bringing new companies to Boston by providing the space, infrastructure, and talented workforce they need to thrive. Creating an environment where small businesses thrive by establishing a centralized Small Business Center and supporting worker cooperatives. Increasing access to commercial space and improving transit connections and infrastructure in neighborhoods. Reducing wealth disparities through Children’s Savings Accounts, increased financial education in City programs, increased utilization of the Earned-Income Tax Credit, and strengthening citywide procurement targets.
  • Energy and Environment: Aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2030 as a milestone to achieving the city’s 80 percent by 2050 emissions reduction target; conducting district-scale planning, including updated building regulations and climate-ready zoning, and investing in flood protection that prepares neighborhoods and job centers for flood and heat risks from our changing climate.
  • Open space: Creating a vibrant open space network citywide by completing the Emerald Necklace, strengthening Franklin Park and the Boston Common as keystone parks for the city, and creating new open spaces along Boston’s waterfront.
  • Transportation: Establishing more frequent and reliable service in the Fairmount corridor through collaboration with the state, MBTA, and community organizations; strengthening transportation connections between neighborhoods and to existing and emerging job centers by investing in bus rapid transit corridors and multi-modal transit hubs.
  • Technology: Investing in “smart city” infrastructure to dynamically respond to community needs, use land more efficiently, and make it easier to get around in Boston, including flexible lanes that shift purpose by time of day and traffic lights timed to reduce congestion.
  • Health: Encouraging a healthy built-environment, including safe streets and communities that are pedestrian and bike-friendly where it is easy to bike and walk; reducing disparities in health outcomes by improving access to mental health services and substance abuse care; increasing access to healthy and affordable food; and reducing street violence in city neighborhoods.
  • Arts and Culture: Creating three Arts Innovation Districts that strengthen local arts hubs, starting with Uphams Corner.

The full draft report is available at As you read the draft, let us know what resonates and what you would improve here.

Following the release of the draft plan, Imagine Boston will kick off Imagine Boston Week, a series of place-based events throughout the city to offer residents the opportunity to engage directly with members of Mayor Walsh’s Cabinet, City leaders and the Imagine Boston 2030 team about the plan. To learn more about Imagine Boston Week and RSVP for events, click here.

Imagine Boston 2030 is working in conjunction with other City of Boston planning efforts, including Boston Creates, Go Boston 2030, Climate Ready Boston, and Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030. The final Imagine Boston 2030 plan is scheduled to be released in 2017.

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