boston planning & development agency


Posted Date 08/04/2021
Job ID
Downtown & Neighborhood Planning
Grade Level
# of Hours
Salary Range
$85,500 - $106,900


Boston Planning & Development Agency







GRADE:        L                                                      STATUS:       EXEMPT





The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) is the planning and economic development agency for the City of Boston. The BPDA plays a far-reaching role in shaping the City. We are a self-sustaining agency and our love for Boston inspires us to make our City an even better place to live, work, and connect.  The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse staff with diverse experiences while continuing to work to build and sustain an equitable and inclusive work environment, where cultural diversity is celebrated and valued.  We believe every member on our team enriches our agency and allows us to see a broad range of ways to understand and engage with our city, identify challenges, and discover, design, and deliver solutions.


The Downtown & Neighborhood Planning Department works with Boston’s communities to create long-term plans that help foster the development of attractive, safe, diverse, and economically thriving places to live, work, and play. Planning efforts engage local residents, businesses, agencies, and institutions in guiding the future character of Boston's unique neighborhoods and districts. The Downtown & Neighborhood Planning Department works at the neighborhood level to create community visions that look at current assets and opportunities for future growth to enhance quality of life. Planners explore the issues of land use, housing needs, open space, transportation and multimodal networks, and economic development with community members. The envisioned plans, informed by the community's input, guide future development scenarios and may result in urban design guidelines, master plans, zoning recommendations, and/or other policy changes.




Under the direction of the Deputy Director for Downtown & Neighborhood Planning, the Assistant Deputy Director for Downtown & Neighborhood Planning will lead and coordinate up to 10 planning staff members to produce plans, guidelines, and policies appropriate to the planning issues in Boston’s many neighborhoods. They will guide and mentor staff to work collaboratively with community, business, and institutional organizations on public planning processes associated with physical planning within Boston. Additionally, the Assistant Deputy Director will collaborate with BPDA Planning and Development Review staff as well as with City, State, and other community agencies and organizations to facilitate the coordination of the public planning and development review processes relating to neighborhood planning issues.



The general duties and responsibilities of the position are included in but not limited to the information listed below.


Planning Initiatives

  • Provide leadership and management to staff engaged in neighborhood planning processes, with particular focus on the existing and future PLAN initiatives.
  • Advise in the selection of new areas within the City to pursue future planning initiatives.
  • As assigned, manage and oversee planning initiatives and the creation of community master plans and zoning amendments.
  • Review scope of services and budgets for planning initiatives and advise staff on consultant selection and contract management.
  • Review draft and final planning scenarios, reports, studies, and other products.
  • Engender confidence in the planning process among community groups, residents, businesses, institutions, agencies, and developers. Establish and maintain effective working relationships with a full range of stakeholder parties of interest, civic organizations, and advisory groups.
  • Provide guidance to staff in coordinating planning work with Article 80 development projects and Board of Appeal cases within the boundaries or scope of existing planning initiatives.


  • Ensure that staff have the support needed to: a) consult with other Agency staff, developers, and community representatives to hear concerns and solicit input, b) schedule meetings; c) manage external committees and task forces associated with planning initiatives (i.e., Advisory Groups, Citizen Advisory Committees, etc.); d) coordinate prompt and comprehensive exchange of information; e) ensure ample and equitable opportunity for exchange of views; f) facilitate negotiations to achieve consensus. Manage staff in these efforts and participate as appropriate.
  • Provide regular updates on workflow and progress on planning initiatives and other assigned projects to the Director of Planning and Deputy Director for Downtown & Neighborhood Planning.
  • Review public presentations and workshop agendas for community and advisory group meetings. Provide supervisory support to the Downtown & Neighborhood Planning team to arrange and conduct evening and daytime public meetings. Participate in selected planning initiative community meetings to provide for public input.
  • Provide briefings and presentations on ongoing and recently completed planning initiatives for senior Agency or City officials.
  • Work closely with the Office of Neighborhood Services on community issues related to planning and development review.
  • Ensure that response to public questions, needs or concerns is prompt and accurate. Develop, recommend and implement improvements and enhancements to processes, policies, and procedures governing the planning process.
  • Develop and communicate annual performance expectations, prepare interim reviews, and conduct year-end evaluations for supervised staff.
  • Review staff work plans and recommend changes where appropriate. With support from the Deputy Director for Downtown & Neighborhood Planning, coordinate staff development and management.
  • Develop methods of communication and mentoring, and encourage professional development for direct reports.



  • Assist with tours and conferences as requested.
  • Lead design and development of neighborhood-specific community engagement strategies for a diverse group of stakeholders (internal & external) around planning.
  • Foster partnerships with communit, academic, and professional organizations.
  • Partner with departments within the Agency and the City in order to create multidisciplinary planning teams and develop innovative planning solutions.
  • Track progress of recently completed planning initiatives across the Agency and City and report back to the community on progress and milestones.
  • Perform other related duties as required.


Work requires the completion of a Master’s degree in Urban Planning or a related field, with a minimum of 8 years of progressively responsible related experience. Candidates holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies or a closely related field with a minimum of 10 years of experience, including staff supervisory experience, may also apply. Direct experience with the City of Boston may substitute for a portion of the required years. Prior experience in conducting planning processes and expertise in urban planning, community relations, and urban design is highly desired. Work requires the ability to analyze and interpret planning issues, communicate clearly in written, verbal, and graphic form, and make recommendations for resolving issues. Strong written and verbal communication, project management, and public facilitation skills are essential requirements. Base knowledge of cultural competency, equity, and outreach practices to ensure inclusive and broad public participation is also required.


The ability to supervise professional staff, knowledge of Boston’s zoning code, familiarity with city neighborhoods and commercial districts, acquaintance with community groups, understanding of real estate development, and knowledge of municipal government are desired.



Applicants are required to submit one work sample that illustrates strong graphic and written communication skills or one graphic work sample and one written work sample.



Normal office environment; some site visits, and frequent community meetings.



Little or no exertion; regular local travel.


SCOPE: Within the Downtown & Neighborhood Planning Department, manage staff of up to 10 employees.





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