New measures aim to increase diversity in development, prevent displacement
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) and the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) will include criteria to promote diversity and inclusion and prevent displacement in all Requests for Proposals (RFPs) released for public land moving forward. By encouraging the participation of people of color, women, and Minority and Women Business Enterprises (M/WBEs), the policy will foster a more inclusive workforce throughout the City of Boston.
"In order to create a Boston that is equitable for all, we must call on our partners in the development and business community to join us in increasing opportunities for our residents," said Mayor Walsh. "These steps build on the measures we have taken to remove barriers that hinder individuals from reaching their full potential based on their background, race, or gender, while ensuring that new development on public land happens without displacement."
Much of this policy language was written in collaboration with the community during the PLAN: Dudley Square process, which has led to the recent release of four RFPs for redevelopment by DND. The BPDA piloted the diversity and inclusion language in the RFP released for Parcel 12 in Chinatown in 2017.
The diversity and inclusion policy asks respondents to RFPs for public land to set forth a Diversity and Inclusion Plan that will establish an outreach program aimed at creating increased opportunities for people of color, women, and for M/BEs to participate in the proposed development project. Proposals should include the extent to which the proponent plans to include meaningful participation in the fields of construction, design, development, financing, operations, and ownership.
In addition, respondents to RFPs will be required to submit plans to mitigate displacement from development, which will help current residents remain in their communities, afford housing, and find pathways to economic opportunity.
Under the Walsh Administration, the City of Boston has taken several steps to create a more inclusive workforce. In 2016, Mayor Walsh increased the employment standards for the Boston Residents Jobs Policy (BRJP) and Boston Employment Commission (BEC) as part of an ongoing effort to create more employment opportunities for Boston residents, persons of color and women. The new standards address the need to create more inclusive employment opportunities during the largest construction boom in Boston's history.
Today's announcement builds on the steps the Walsh Administration has taken to combat displacement. In 2016, Mayor Walsh created the Office of Housing Stability to prevent displacement in Boston's neighborhoods, offering support and case management to residents in a housing crisis, creating and distributing information for tenants and landlords, and creating and advocating for new policies and legislation to prevent displacement. The recently released update to the Mayor's Housing Plan establishes a goal of supporting the purchase of 1,000 rental housing units from the speculative market and income-restricting them through an expanded Acquisition Opportunity Program. These units are part of the 15,820 affordable unit production plan.