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Arthur Jemison named Boston’s new planning chief

by Liz Hughes

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has named James Arthur Jemison II as the city’s inaugural chief of planning, where he’s expected to advance Wu’s vision for a more equitable, resilient, transit-oriented and affordable city.

The announcement comes just a week after Boston Planning and Development Agency chief Brian Golden stepped down after eight years. 

Jemison will coordinate and direct all city plans, land-use directives and related development policies and processes, according to a press release from Wu’s office

“With his deep experience across city, state and federal government, tackling housing instability and building more equitable communities, Arthur will help drive our agenda forward to make Boston a city for everyone,” Wu said. “In this moment of urgent challenge and opportunity, Boston’s growth must reflect the possibilities for our brightest future — from affordable housing and racial equity, to climate resilience and healthy, connected communities.”

Wu is expected to ask the BPDA Board of Directors to appoint Jemison at the agency’s May 12 meeting, and he is expected to take the reins later that month. In his new role, Jemison will also work to structurally reform the BPDA and lead online planning, zoning and development efforts. 

Devin Quirk was named deputy chief of operations and organizational transformation under Jemison. He will be responsible for implementing Mayor Wu’s and Jemison’s vision for the transformation of the BPDA and overseeing daily agency operations.

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