Mayor Walsh highlights economic successes, work to create equitable Boston at Chamber of Commerce
September 27, 2016
BOSTON - Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today addressed the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, discussing the strength of Boston's economy and the work ahead to create a Boston that is prosperous and more equitable for all.
"Boston has reached a position of economic leadership that is unprecedented in our history," said Mayor Walsh. "We've let go of the insular culture and top-down leadership of the past. We've deepened our core strengths and we've built carefully and confidently beyond them. We are looking to the future and opening our arms to the world, and the world is responding."
Boston's Economy is Strong:
- Since 2014, $12 billion worth of development has entered the pipeline. Right now there is $6 billion under construction in Boston.
- There are 40,000 small businesses operating across the city, generating $15 billion in annual revenue and creating 170,000 jobs. Citywide, unemployment is below 4 percent.
- Pitchbook confirmed that Boston is second only to the Bay Area for the total number of successful venture capital investments.
- As of this month, nearly 10,500 units have been completed towards the goal of 53,000 in the Mayor's Housing Plan. Another 7,200 under are construction, and more than 17,000 in the pipeline - well ahead of schedule.
- In recent weeks, companies including AutoDesk, Flextronics, and Continuum have moved to Boston and set up the kind of facilities that help bridge the gap between innovation and manufacturing in our economy.
Continued Focus on Creating Opportunity for all:
- The Mayor discussed his commitment to a more open and intentional conversation about race in Boston in order to tackle the disparities that are rooted in Boston's history and continue presenting barriers today.
- This fall the City will hold a series of public conversations on race and equity, to set up a more open dialogue in Boston about race. The City will provide a toolkit for anyone who wants to hold a conversation in their neighborhood or workplace.
- To create equity, we must have digital infrastructure that gives residents and businesses the best possible access to the global flow of data. Under Mayor Walsh's leadership, Verizon has begun installing fiber cable that will reach every corner of the City.
- There is a renewed focus on planning, and this fall, the Mayor will roll out key priorities in Imagine Boston 2030, the first citywide plan in over 50 years. Already the City's planning work is bringing new community input and new investment to South Boston, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, and Dorchester.
The Boston Planning and Development Agency:
The Mayor today officially launched the Boston Planning and Development Agency, the new vision and name of the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA). Since the Mayor took office, he has focused on reforming the BRA to increase transparency and efficiency and create a more open, community-oriented culture. Earlier this year, the BRA began work on a new identity to better reflect the work in its ongoing mission. The Boston Planning and Development Agency will be modern and state of the art, will understand what the Boston of today and tomorrow need, and will be innovative and inclusive about shaping development toward those ends. After listening to residents, employees, business and community partners, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) will continue reform work that has already begun over the past several years. The Mayor announced that the BPDA will continue this work with:
- A redesigned community meeting format to provide more context and more clarity, and an online platform for neighborhood-specific updates and feedback. This will ensure that conversations are open, ongoing, and available to all.
- The Boston Planning and Development Agency will focus on comprehensive planning and responsible development for inclusive growth across the city. Beginning this fall, planning and development review teams will visit Boston's neighborhoods together to talk about what the new process will look like.
- BPDA+, a program to forge collaborations with nonprofits, businesses, universities, and startups; and host innovation fellowships for leading-edge global experts.
Last year, Mayor Walsh called for a new Adopt-a-School initiative to engage organizations with the Boston Public Schools. Today, he thanked the businesses who answered his call for support, including: Delta Dental, General Electric, Goodwin Proctor, Levi's, RSM, Salsify, Whole Foods, and Vertex.
He also announced the launch of the InvestBPS online portal, created with the help of local innovator Intrepid. It will make it easy for companies to match their interests with schools' needs and begin providing unique learning experiences to Boston students.