Upcoming Sessions

DateTopicSpeakers
February
10Meeting the Housing Challenge

Boston’s booming economy has helped fuel dramatic increases in the cost of housing, which are making housing unaffordable for many residents and could threaten the region’s economic vitality. The session will explore the nature, causes, and potential responses to the high cost of housing.
- Barry Bluestone, Professor of Political Economy, Northeastern University, Lead Author of “The Greater Boston Housing Report Card,” an annual report produced for the Boston Foundation since 2002

- Devin Quirk, City of Boston, Director of Operations, Department of Neighborhood Development

- Rachel Heller, Director of Public Policy, Citizens' Housing and Planning Association
17Meeting the Mobility Challenge

This session will focus on key transportation issues in Boston, and reflect the fact that the city and the state share responsibility for addressing many of those pressing issues.
- Stephanie Pollack, Massachusetts Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Transportation

- The Honorable Russell Holmes, Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives serving the Sixth Suffolk District, and Co-Chair of Mayor Walsh's Mobility Plan Advisory Committee

- Gina Fiandaca, Commissioner of Transportation for the City of Boston
24Responding to Climate Change

Global climate change is likely to have dramatic impacts on Boston, particularly in low-lying areas built on landfill that could be dramatically affected by rising sea levels and a potential increase in dramatic weather events. This session will focus on potential problems and strategies for addressing them, including new environmental plans being developed by the city.
- Matthias Ruth, Professor of Public Policy and Civil / Environmental Engineering and Director of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University

- Carl Spector, City of Boston Commissioner of the Environment

- Chris Marchi, Director of Community Building and Environment, Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH)
March
2Enhancing the Public Realm

The city shapes the public realm in three interrelated ways: design review of projects, investment in public spaces, and use of public ways. This panel will focus on how the city does (and might) use these approaches to advance Imagine Boston 2030’s larger goals.
- Tim Love, associate professor of architecture at Northeastern University and Founding Principal at Utile

- Chris Osgood, Chief of Streets, City of Boston

- David Carlson, Deputy Director for Urban Design, Boston Redevelopment Authority and Executive Director, Boston Civic Design Commission
9Spring Break - No Class
16Creating a Resilient, Just, and Sustainable City

While much of Boston has prospered, certain neighborhoods, especially minority communities, have been left behind. Moreover, the lack of affordable housing, fewer educational opportunities, and less preparation for good jobs threaten to divide the city further along racial and economic lines. This session will focus on the city’s efforts to address these issues, in part via its participation in the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative, which is “helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century.”
- Atyia Martin, City of Boston Chief Resilience Officer

- Others TBD
23Participatory Planning in Theory and Practice

This session, which is being offered in conjunction with the release of the spring issue of ArchitectureBoston magazine, will be a hands-on session focused on the theory and practice of participatory planning
TBD
30Building a Shared Vision for Arts and Culture

The creativity of residents and the creative culture of the city are important, intangible assets for every city, including Boston, which has always been an innovative and creative city. This session will focus on “Boston Creates,” a community-wide effort launched by the Walsh Administration that aims to harness this creativity, to build a shared vision for arts and culture.
- Julie Burros, City of Boston Chief of Arts and Culture

- John Beck, Deputy Director, ArtsBoston
April
6Building a 21st Century System of Schools

The changing economy (and changing demographics) suggests that cities need to rethink the ways that students are educated. To spur that discussion, this session will focus on initiatives being carried out under the leadership of Dr. Tommy Chang, who became superintendent of the Boston Public Schools in in July 2015 as well as the Walsh Administration’s “High School Redesign” initiative, which is crafting a vision for Boston public high schools, in which every student graduates prepared for college, career, and life.
- Dr. Tommy Chang, Superintendent, Boston Public Schools
13Using Technology to Engage Constituents and Improve Governance

This session, which will be held in conjunction with Professor Dan O’Brien’s spring semester big data course at Northeastern (SPUAA 5266: Urban Theory and Science), will focus on the ways that new technologies (e.g., Boston's 311 system and other city programs focused on maintaining and improving neighborhoods) have the potential to get people more involved in urban governance, in addition to improving the delivery of city services. Can we measure and assess these impacts? Can we - and should we - make more use of these new approaches to not only improve the operation of city government but also to try and get more people involved?
- Nigel Jacob, Urban Technologist at Living Cities, and Founder and Co-Chair of the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanic, City of Boston

- Dan O'Brien, Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and Criminology an Criminal Justice

- Dietmar Offenhuber, Assistant Professor of Art and Design and Public Policy, Northeastern University

- Lauren Lockwood, Chief Digital Officer, City of Boston
- Others TBA
20
Achieving the Vision

This session will explore promising opportunities to implement key strategies identified in the planning process.
- - John Barros, Chief of Economic Development, City of Boston

- Others TBD

Past Sessions

DateTopicSpeakers
January
13Imagining the Future
- click here to see the video


The first session will focus on Imagine Boston 2030, the planning process launched in mid 2015 by Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, which aims to define a vision for Boston on its 400th birthday and beyond, and a provide roadmap to realize that vision. As Boston’s first citywide plan in 50 years, Imagine Boston 2030 hopefully will guide positive physical change while promoting shared prosperity, coordinated public investments, and a healthy environment and population.
- Sara Myerson, Executive Director, Imagine Boston 2030

- Matthew Littell, Principal at Utile, which is partnering with H,R&A, as Lead Consultant on Imagine Boston 2030

- Anthony Flint, Fellow and Director of Public Affairs, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, author of Modern Man: The Life of Le Corbusier, Architect of Tomorrow (New Harvest, 2014), Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took on New York's Master Builder and Transformed the American City (Random House, 2009), and This Land: The Battle over Sprawl and the Future of America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006)
20Past Futures: Learning from Past Planning Efforts
- click here to view David Luberoff's opening remarks and Tunney Lee's keynote address, and here to view the panel discussion and audience Q&A with Byron Rushing, Anthony Pangaro, and Tunney Lee, moderated by David Luberoff


What might we learn from some notable previous planning efforts, particularly the last master plan: the BRA’s “1965/1975 General Plan for the City of Boston and the regional core?”
- Tunney Lee, Professor Emeritus and former Head, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT, and former Chief of Planning and Design at the Boston Redevelopment Authority

- The Honorable Byron Rushing, Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives serving the Ninth Suffolk District, and former head of Museum of Afro-American History

- Anthony Pangaro, Principal, Millennium Partners
27
The Ever Changing Demography of Greater Boston
- click here to view David Luberoff's opening remarks and Tim Reardon's keynote address, and here to view the panel discussion and audience Q&A with Tim Reardon, Marilynn Johnson, and Alejandra St. Guillen, moderated by David Luberoff


The demographics and economy of Boston – both the city and the region – have changed dramatically in recent years and are likely to continue to changing dramatically as well. Most notably, the city (and region) are more diverse and more reliant on skills-based industries. How might these changes shape the city and how should planning for the future respond to these changes?
- Tim Reardon, Data Services Director, Metropolitan Area Planning Council

- Marilynn Johnson, Professor of History, Boston College, author of The New Bostonians: How Immigrants Have Transformed the Metro Area Since the 1960s

- Alejandra St. Guillen, Director, City of Boston's Office of New Bostonians
February
3Sustaining and Expanding the Innovation Economy - video coming soon...

This session will focus on how Boston can sustain its current boom of economic activity, particularly among innovative start-ups and other cutting-edge firms, and also work to ensure that the benefits of that activity are spread as widely and equitably as possible.
- Jay Ash, Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development

- Joseph A. Curtatone, Mayor of Somerville

- Nicole Fichera, General Manager of District Hall and Co-Principal of the Roxbury Innovation Center