Last week, I announced Imagine Boston 2030, the first citywide planning process in 50 years. It will be a two-year planning process to create a roadmap for success leading up to Boston’s 400th birthday.
Boston is a city of neighborhoods and, more importantly, a city of neighbors who care and look out for one another. Across our many cultures and identities, we come together in the conviction that everyone deserves access to health, education, opportunity, and quality of life. This appreciation for who we are and what we stand for will be invaluable in planning for 2030. Our challenge is also our unique opportunity: to combine our diverse perspectives into a powerful collective vision. I am looking forward to hearing from residents all over the city about what they imagine Boston’s future will look and feel like.
Imagining Boston’s future is something everyone does, when they think about building their career, their family, and their dreams in our city. But those dreams—and our city’s future—depend on decisions that we make today, as a community. So, we’ve set Boston’s 400th anniversary as a milestone for our planning initiatives: in housing, transportation, the environment, arts, and more. It’s a timeline that allows us to think about Boston’s future on a global and historic scale, while focusing on concrete, reachable goals. It’s time to unify these goals into a comprehensive framework for the way our city grows.
Fifty years ago, Boston sought a plan to reverse economic stagnation and population loss. Today, Boston is thriving. Our population is growing, our economy is expanding, and long-neglected land is being developed. These are all signs of our success—but they also present challenges. We don’t just want to grow bigger. We want to grow smarter. We want to grow more resilient and more equitable, all across the city. We want to position Boston to thrive at every level: from our homes, streets, and parks, to the global economic arena. So we’re going to take on our challenges, and more: we’re going to dream bold new dreams.
In Imagine Boston 2030, we will build this ambitious vision together. And we will create a plan for making it a reality, in every neighborhood. A citywide plan will direct economic and physical growth toward that vision. It will enhance development by establishing, through community input, high standards of quality that create a predictable framework for project approval. It will align and advance all our planning goals, and drive the investments and partnerships we need to achieve them, while making Boston a leader on the world stage.
Public engagement will be the heart of the process. We’re starting right away with a website at imagine.boston.gov. It invites creative methods of engagement for a plan that we expect will highlight Boston’s creativity. We don’t know exactly where our city’s collective imagination will lead. But our core values will guide us. We’re going to strengthen what’s great about Boston already, from historic landscapes to diverse communities. We’re going to make equity and quality of life the hallmarks of new progress, so everyone can thrive in our city. And we’re going to embrace innovation—so we can continue to lead the world, in everything from new technology to walkable neighborhoods.
Today, we plan from a position of strength—in our economy, and in our communities. I want to thank again Boston’s residents, who have made this city what it is and work every day to make it even greater. I can’t wait to find out where we can go next. Now is our chance to set the course for the next generation of Bostonians. Join us to make our vision a reality – your voice is the key to our success.
Martin J. Walsh is the current Mayor of Boston.