Mayor Walsh announces selection of Lead Consultant for Imagine Boston 2030

  |   Request for Proposals

Firm brings wealth of planning experience to first citywide plan in 50 years

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that HR&A Advisors, with support from Utile Architecture + Planning, has been selected as the consultant team for Imagine Boston 2030, a signature initiative to create Boston’s first citywide plan in 50 years. Their selection, which comes after the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s Board of Directors approved a recommendation to work with the consultant at a meeting last night, paves the way for the city to begin negotiating a contract with HR&A.

“A successful civic engagement component for Imagine Boston 2030 is critical to creating a future for the City that incorporates all of our residents,” said Mayor Walsh. “HR&A and Utile appreciate the diversity of Boston’s people and their viewpoints, and they will help us build a stronger city that’s grounded by ideas from the people of Boston.”

The firms are expected to apply their international experience in leading the two-year planning process for Imagine Boston, which will cover issues related to mobility, housing, land use, prosperity and equity, environment and adaptation, parks and open space, arts and culture, and public health. The selection process was carried out by a team of stakeholders from various city agencies. HR&A and Utile ultimately won the group’s support with their focused, creative and disciplined approach that answered the Mayor’s vision for creating a community-led plan.

“The selection of a lead consultant is an exciting step for Imagine Boston 2030 as we embark on a two year process where we will look to harness the city’s collective imagination and together build a vision for the Boston of the future,” said Sara Myerson, Executive Director of Imagine Boston 2030.

Beginning this fall, the team led by HR&A will work directly with the Mayor’s Office and City of Boston staff to implement an initial round of public engagement leading to a vision for the planning process and for Boston as it approaches its 400th birthday.

Imagine Boston 2030 will be carried out in phases:

  • In Year One, HR&A and Utile will deliver a strategic vision plan, establishing goals, indicators, and targets for the City’s future by focusing on Boston’s people, economy, places, and the environment.
  • In Year Two, the consultant team will deliver the Imagine Boston Citywide Plan, which encompasses strategies and recommendations to achieve the City’s goals.

Leveraging their considerable resources and lessons learned during previous planning initiatives, HR&A and Utile will prepare a citywide plan for Boston that will be created, supported and driven forward by Bostonians of all ages and backgrounds.

The selection of HR&A was guided by an understanding of the firm’s extensive experience working with cities including New York City, Washington, San Antonio, Cincinnati, New Orleans and St. Louis on planning initiatives examining how to make cities more competitive, equitable, livable, sustainable, and resilient. HR&A, which is headquartered in New York City, led the OneNYC strategic planning process and advised on legacy planning for London’s 2012 Olympic Park. Boston-based Utile has led planning and public engagement processes for several important local initiatives, such as Boston’s ongoing municipal harbor planning efforts and the Union Square Neighborhood Plan for Somerville.

In May, Mayor Walsh and the Boston Redevelopment Authority issued a request for proposals for consulting services following the official launch of Imagine Boston 2030 at the innovation Design Alternatives Summit. The request for proposals specified a need for core services, including project management and content production, expertise in land use planning and urban design, and a proven ability to lead an extensive outreach effort and public process. Throughout the process HR&A and Utile, along with sub-consultants that will be added to bring additional expertise to the team, will maintain a commitment to these principles, and will use creative and engaging approaches that exhibit international leadership and local connections to gather both input and feedback from Bostonians.

Mayor Walsh has challenged both citizens and city employees to embrace creative public engagement strategies that go beyond traditional community meetings. HR&A and Utile will work with the Mayor’s Office, particularly the Chief of Civic Engagement, the Chief of Economic Development, the BRA and other City departments to reach constituents that would not ordinarily attend traditional community meetings. The City would like to hear directly from constituents on how they want to be engaged, and is encouraging them to fill out a survey. For more information, please visit

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