Under the direction of the Director of Planning, lead, manage and direct the BPDA’s urban design agenda, staff and activities, and coordinate with City planning and development teams to plan, implement and communicate the key issues shaping Boston’s future form and design, including its public realm, its downtown and its neighborhoods, its key economic centers and institutions. Through project and policy work, and public dialog, work to ensure that future growth is compatible with Boston’s human scale, order and character on specific sites, entire districts, and citywide, in such ways that enhance Boston’s built environments, support Boston’s communities, and maximize Boston’s infrastructure investments. Develop the department’s systems and relationships to best deploy its expertise in the team-oriented context of BPDA planning and economic development activities.
GENERAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
The general duties and responsibilities of the position are included in but not limited to the following:
Reporting to the Director of Planning, participate in senior management team and manage all areas of the Urban Design Department and staff.
Manage and coordinate the formulation, development and establishment of urban design planning principles and activities that protect and enhance Boston’s existing public realm built character and facilitate excellence in the planning and development of Boston’s future urban character.
Provide a voice for urban design issues. Responsible for communicating clearly within government, and with the planning, design and development communities, the economic sectors and neighborhoods of Boston.
As appropriate, prepare and public presentations; participate in panels, committees and task forces.
Determine appropriate communications strategies to accomplish the full range of urban design priorities, from project to policy.
Communicate Boston urban design strategies to visiting planners, urban designers and members of the academic community.
Work closely with BPDA colleagues in shaping and conveying this information and these messages, including senior management and communications officers. Exercising the highly valued leadership role of BPDA urban design, develop and prepare the urban design priorities agenda (responsive to BPDA and City priorities) for the Director of Planning.
Help to determine the physical future of Boston through expertise and skill. Analyze, envision, and communicate to a wide variety of internal and external audiences the urban design opportunities and their benefits and issues, in particular regarding physical development or physical planning contexts.
Planning Studies/Initiatives: Oversee and manage all elements of Boston’s urban design activities, including but not limited to participation in development review and master planning efforts, as a lead member of the City’s physical planning team. As needed, play both a reactive role, for example in the Article 80 development review process, and a proactive role in planning efforts and in policy development.
Article 80 Design Review: Manage urban design staff participation in design review activities, including but not limited to Article 80 reviews. Provide administrative oversight and technical advice and guidance as required. Lead and/or participate in meetings with planning and development professionals and agency and community representatives to discuss and resolve project or planning-related urban design issues. Review plans and/or proposals to ensure compliance with urban design and planning principles and policies, and with community goals and concerns.
ZBA Design Review: Oversee the BPDA design review of Zoning Board of Appeal cases. Ensure consistency and application of best urban design practices in review of projects. Assist in resolving issues that arise from the community and elected officials that need to be addressed by the design review process.
Comprehensive Sign Review: Oversee the BPDA comprehensive sign review.
UDTG: Manage the Urban Design Technology Group (UDTG) and ensure that they are meeting current and future anticipated needs of the department, agency and the city in managing the digital model of Boston as well as other urban design/development/planning visualization tools and programs.
BCDC: Oversee operations of Boston Civic Design Commission (BCDC). Work with assigned urban design staff member who serves as BCDC Executive Director to ensure prompt and professional design review of BCDC projects; coordinate BCDC agenda; and, coordinate the BCDC’s relationship with BPDA leadership, division and department heads.
Interagency Coordination: Coordinate goals and activities with other BRA/EDIC departments, city and state agencies, design and development communities, community /civic organizations and the business community.
Plan and assign the work of the urban design department. Develop staffing plan and work assignments and oversee the implementation of the work program. Work with Director of Planning and others to develop a hiring plan for urban designers, urban design planners, urban design technicians and others with needed special expertise to achieve the work program, including (as needed) consultants and interdepartmental teams.
Oversee the preparation of all urban design products, including urban design reports, analyses, policy statements, graphic and written urban design guidelines as part of overall planning, rezoning and development efforts. Oversee preparation of urban design studies by staff and/or consultants, and ensure appropriate internal review prior to publication.
Manage the business and personnel of the urban design department, including conducting weekly staff meetings, holding annual staff performance reviews, screening/selection of candidates, orientation, mentorship and collaboration with Human Resources to address any personnel issues.
Develop, recommend and administer department budgetary needs. Approve expenditures within budgetary guidelines.
Requires completion of a Master’s degree in Architecture or a Master’s degree in Urban Design plus at least 8 years of progressively responsible related experience in urban planning and design, with strong experience in the public sector, and some experience in the private sector. At least three years of department management experience, and at least five years of managing staff and/or policy is desired. Demonstrated success as a leader, team player, consensus-builder and innovative thinker is required.
Normal office environment; some site visits.
Little or no exertion; occasional local travel.
Directly or through subordinate supervisors, manage Urban Design staff of 15-20 employees.