The Boston Redevelopment Authority has a new name and a new outlook.
The agency is adopting a new “organization identity” this week that it says better defines what it does in the city. Now known as the Boston Planning and Development Agency, the organization has also released an updated mission statement.
“Our name describes what we do as an organization: planning in order to shape the future of the city of Boston,” the new site explains. “Our name emphasizes our role in planning because the BPDA is uniquely tasked with thinking about Boston’s future and taking a broad view of many components that come together. We then work to develop that plan and make it a reality.”
Mayor Marty Walsh announced the rebranding while addressing the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.
In his speech, Walsh said that the while the BRA—created in 1957 under then-Mayor John Hynes—has played a key role in this city’s successful transformations, it has also been “defined by moments of injustice… and a lack of transparency in recent decades.”
The new name isn’t just a surface-level change, Walsh said, but an indicator of how the agency will work from this point on.
“Right off the bat, planning and development review teams will visit the neighborhoods, together, to talk about what the new process will look like,” Walsh said. “I can announce today that it will include a redesigned community meeting format, to provide more context and more clarity; and an online platform for neighborhood-specific updates and feedback. We’re going to make sure conversations are open, ongoing, and available to all.”
Walsh also announced a BPDA+ program to initiate collaborations between the agency and nonprofits, businesses, universities and startups.
The BRA garnered a reputation in Boston as an agency that favored developers over the wants of the neighborhood. The “new and modern” BPDA promises to listen more to adapt a “community-first” approach and “ground everything we do in the daily experiences of the people of Boston and our neighborhoods,” according to its website.