Implement New Solutions
To be a leader in planning and solve many of the challenges that 21st century cities face, we must leverage our deep expertise, tap into Boston’s innovative spirit and capture inspiration from around the world. We will identify new approaches and collaborate with partners to implement novel ideas that positively impact the people of Boston.
Good ideas can come from anywhere. The BPDA looks to many sources for inspiration, including other cities around the world facing the same challenges Boston does. Further, the innovative spirit that thrives in the Greater Boston area—leading universities, startups and accelerators, large corporations, non-profits and the like—means that many ideas and the skills to implement them are in our backyard.
The BPDA is uniquely suited to identify and implement these solutions, and Boston’s size makes it a showcase of the best ways to solve many intractable problems common to our cities in the 21st century.
The Four P’s of Implementation
By viewing the challenges of Live, Work and Connect through four P’s—Planning, Policy, Partnership and Pilot—we can provide the right forums and processes for maximizing all that’s best about Boston to create a vibrant hub for urban planning, design and development.
Apply new planning approaches and tools to create an innovative environment.
What are new ways we can use planning to positively impact housing and the surrounding neighborhoods?
e.g., PLAN: South Boston Dorchester Ave
What are new ways we can use planning to attract new businesses, and the associated jobs?
e.g., Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park Master Plan
What are new ways we can use planning to encourage the right infrastructure to meet our residents’ needs?
e.g., Smart Utilities Vision
Identify and test new policies to encourage unique development and use.
What fresh policy ideas can we identify and apply to help encourage the right development and its use?
e.g., Density bonuses
What fresh policy ideas can we identify and apply to help encourage development that leads to more jobs?
e.g., Affordable commercial space
What fresh policy ideas can we identify and apply to help anticipate and address future infrastructure needs?
e.g., Transportation mitigation
Develop partnerships across domains and industries, private and public.
Which organizations can we effectively collaborate with to better reach shared goals for housing and vibrant neighborhoods?
e.g., Open for Business Initiative between City of Boston and State
What organizations can we effectively collaborate with to provide job training and create more opportunities?
e.g. Small business support—BLDC loan with Dorchester Brewery
What organizations can we effectively collaborate with to improve or create the right infrastructure?
e.g., BTD Go Boston 2030
Test new ideas and iterate to create better outcomes.
How can we conduct small-scale tests of new ideas for enhancing neighborhood experiences for all?
e.g., MIT Media Lab’s CityScope and ARkits
How can we conduct small-scale tests of new ways to attract jobs?
e.g., New development models—Innovation and Design Building
How can we conduct small-scale tests of new ideas for improving infrastructure?
e.g., Downtown Crossing Experimental Plaza Pop-up
What This Might Look Like
The image below shows the possible solutions the BPDA could implement using the Four P’s.
Comprehensive city-wide planning through Imagine Boston 2030
Interdepartmental working groups for planning processes
21st century industrial in mixed-use areas
Inclusionary Development Policy
Zoning for affordable commercial space
Incentives for broadband
Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics Housing Innovation Lab
MIT Media Lab
State transportation initiatives
New development models
Pilot-focused fellowship program
Complete streets, bike lanes
Because of disparate systems involved in the BPDA’s work, it can be difficult to communicate between departments. And if an experienced employee leaves, it’s hard for a colleague to pick up his/her work streams, or replicate his/her past efforts, due to minimal documentation and handoffs.
The Desired Outcome
Create or adopt systems and processes to help us evolve to a more collaborative environment that fosters communication, drives consistency and is more efficient. Prioritize those efforts that boost comprehensive planning.
Organizational transformation is an ongoing effort, and there will continue to be new systems and approaches for working more collaboratively and efficiently. The following are key activities identified as critical to effecting change as the BPDA embarks on transformation efforts. Some of these activities are already in development.
Work more efficiently.
Continue to upgrade systems, while identifying additional opportunities for documenting and streamlining those processes that will most positively impact productivity within the BPDA. Remove unnecessary barriers to information and provide people with access to systems.
Activate the strategy.
Create new internal systems and tools that will help the BPDA perform better across the four external opportunities.
Establish employee trajectories.
Ensure that we are able to attract and retain top talent through evolved career paths and role definitions, and create training and development plans that support employees at all levels and across departments.
Codify an approach to piloting ideas.
Achieving our vision requires development of a process that enables employees to engage sources for new ideas, identify the appropriate ones to apply and effectively pilot them.