After a PLAN: Glover’s Corner planning meeting became the site of a community protest, the Reporter asked activists and the city to respond. This op-ed was submitted by the Boston Planning and Development Agency. To read the Dorchester Not For Sale group’s submission, follow this link.
By Brian Golden and Lara Merida
Earlier this year, the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA), in coordination with other city departments and the community launched PLAN: Glover’s Corner, based on the need for an inclusive planning process to create neighborhood-appropriate development, avoid displacement, and promote equity for all who live and work in this community. Acknowledging development pressures in the area, PLAN: Glover’s Corner seeks to identify opportunities for preservation and enhancement while determining an appropriate approach for responsible new development.
Boston is experiencing an unprecedented period of growth. Our city’s population is projected to exceed 700,000 people by the year 2030. While this growth holds tremendous promise to expand our economy and enhance the vitality and diversity of our neighborhoods, change can also be difficult if it is not well planned and deliberated, so it’s important for communities to come together and discuss shared priorities.
Under Mayor Walsh’s leadership, Imagine Boston 2030, Boston’s first citywide plan in 50 years, is creating a framework to embrace growth as a means to address our challenges and make the city stronger and more inclusive.
Planning initiatives start by asking the community to share what they love about their neighborhood and what they hope can be improved. This early feedback helps residents, stakeholders, and the city identify what questions to address through the planning process. This allows us to set the agenda for future planning and informs us of the relevant data we need to collect to ultimately answer these questions together.
Sometimes the data are readily available and need to be sorted and analyzed. In other instances, the data need to be collected, which is a time, and resource, consuming process. Based on the feedback we’ve received since PLAN: Glover’s Corner was launched, the BPDA is preparing a range of data and analysis to share with the entire community. The data will outline the current demographics, housing, and economic conditions, as well as strategies to create and maintain affordable housing. General data were provided in our first workshops, and a more detailed housing and demographic report is being completed with new data released by the US Census Bureau earlier this month.
We will continue our commitment to providing the necessary interpretation services throughout the PLAN: Glover’s Corner process. We have provided translated materials in both Vietnamese and Cape Verdean Creole and simultaneous interpretation of both languages at our workshops.
As planners, it is our duty to listen to the many different voices within the community whose issues and priorities may vary.
As in any planning process, the goal of PLAN: Glover’s Corner is to work together to create recommendations that can help us solve our shared concerns. We are appreciative of the community members who have engaged in this process so far, and we are focused on ensuring that everyone feels welcomed in the conversation, no matter your race, gender, age or background. We need everyone’s voices as we work to maintain a neighborhood where our residents and small businesses can thrive.
To find out more about PLAN: Glover’s Corner and share your hopes, fears and questions, please visit: bit.ly/PlanGlovers.
Brian Golden is the director of the BPDA and Lara Merida is the agency’s deputy director of community planning.