Special to the Times
Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) Director Brian Golden announced that he will conclude his tenure after serving for more than eight years as the chief executive of the agency. As the BPDA’s chief executive, Golden has managed the biggest building boom in Boston’s history, while ushering in holistic reforms that have improved how the agency supports the residents of Boston. He focused on improving transparency, accountability, and community engagement, while furthering equitable outcomes throughout Boston’s neighborhoods. As Director, Golden led an intensive operational reform effort over multiple years and rebranded the agency from the former Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) to the Boston Planning and Development Agency to better reflect the agency’s mission.
“The Board has seen first hand the instrumental work Brian has led to support economic development and new housing opportunities that lift up our communities, while creating a more transparent, accountable BPDA that better serves the people of Boston,” said BPDA Board Chair Priscilla Rojas. “On behalf of the Board, I thank Brian for his many years of service to our city and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”
“During my time on the Board I have witnessed the transformative impact of Brian’s leadership to create long lasting positive changes that are improving our neighborhoods by creating more opportunities for Boston residents to succeed, and stabilizing Boston’s finances through increased tax revenues,” said Dr. Ted Landsmark, BPDA Board Member. “I thank Brian for not only his leadership at the BPDA, but his friendship, and am grateful for his commitment to creating a stronger, more resilient Boston for generations to come.”
Appointed as Executive Director/Secretary in 2009 by Mayor Thomas M. Menino, and permanent Director by Mayor Martin J. Walsh in 2014, Golden is the longest serving leader in the agency’s 65-year history. Over the past eight years, he has steered more than 90 million square feet of development approvals through the BPDA’s permitting process. This total reflects approximately 49 million square feet of residential development, as well as 32 million square feet of commercial, institutional, life science, hotel, retail, and industrial development. These projects represent approximately $43 billion of investment. The approvals include approximately 46,000 new housing units, nearly 11,000 of which are designated as income-restricted and available at below market rates. These developments support over 80,000 permanent jobs, over 90,000 construction jobs, and 46,000 additional induced (indirect) jobs. Since 2019, over 20 percent of new housing units approved each year have been income-restricted; over 35 percent of units approved in 2021 were income-restricted. Boston has a higher percentage of income-restricted affordable housing than any other city in America.
Golden grew the BPDA’s planning capacity, dedicating the resources and personnel necessary to complete the first general city plan since 1965, Imagine Boston 2030, which the BPDA board formally adopted in 2017. He also initiated a variety of community planning efforts in Roxbury, East Boston, Allston-Brighton, Jamaica Plain, Dorchester, South Boston, Mattapan, Newmarket, Downtown (including the Municipal Harbor Plan), and the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park (Master Plan Update). Many of these plans seek to nurture Boston as one of the world’s great life science clusters by creating a framework for increasing the number of facilities for life science uses. Since 2014, the BPDA has planned over 14.