New policy adds diversity, equity, inclusion to Boston’s large development projects

by Liz Hughes

The Boston Planning & Development Agency has adopted a new policy requiring developers to disclose diversity, equity and inclusion plans for large projects when filing. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and the city’s chief of planning Arthur Jemison made the announcement Thursday.

The policy, which the BPDA approved in August, is the first of its kind in the nation, according to the agency. 

Under the BPDA’s DEI in Development policy, developers filing large project applications need to submit plans that include “economic participation, employment, and management roles for people of color, women, and certified Minority and Women Owned (M/WBE) Businesses within the scope of their project.”

“Our residents, developers and businesses all want the same thing: we want to see Boston thriving and growing sustainably, and connect opportunity to all of our residents, in particular our young people,” Wu said. “This new policy is about ensuring success is spread across our communities, while incentivizing sustainable growth and creating more transparent processes.”

“Development can be a catalyst to not only bring positive investment to our neighborhoods, create good jobs and affordable housing at a range of levels, but also bring opportunities to build wealth for those who have historically been left out of Boston’s building boom,” said Jemison. “Building a Boston that is equitable, and representative of the people living here is important to our agency, and we believe this policy will begin to get us there.”

The new policy follows BPDA prioritizing the use of “public land for good” and the agency’s requirements that developers competing for publicly owned land demonstrate their commitment to diversity in all aspects of the project.

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