The plan was launched in Upham’s Corner, the location of a pilot initiative in the IB2030 plan’s Enhanced Neighborhood section.
Imagine Boston 2030
City of Boston, Massachusetts
The mayor’s office conducted a housing study of Boston, MA that revealed not only that the population is growing twice as quickly as the national average, but that the city therefore would need 53,000 more housing units by 2030 to accommodate that growth.
This got the city to thinking about many aspects of the future (eg, transportation, open space, education, climate change), and it decided it should address planning very differently. Instead of using just a land-use and development lens, it wanted to widen the focus to overall quality of life.
In September 2015, the city launched a plan called “Imagine Boston 2030,” the first such plan since 1965. Residents were asked for input on their vision for the city, 15,000 responded, and a final plan was released in July with 14 metrics to measure progress (on an annual basis) toward five basic goals.
The specific projects and initiatives to execute the vision were then uploaded to a user-friendly dashboard that’s become part of the city’s open data portal and features interactive maps and charts.
For example, one of the objectives is to encourage affordability, reduce displacement, and improve the quality of life. Metrics for that goal include mortality rates, number of severely cost-burdened low and middle-income households, neighborhood walkability scores, and crime rates.
Other broad goals include increasing access to opportunity, driving inclusiveness in economic growth, promoting a healthy environment and preparing for climate change, and investing in open space, culture, transportation, and infrastructure.
“We’re trying to get residents to engage with the city—not just for trash pickup but to see the numbers that we’re seeing, and learn about the city they’re living in,” Natalia says. The project is predicated on Boston’s existing embrace of “data-driven growth.”
Next step: With no marketing budget, they’re promoting the dashboard and plan with a fun how-to video, social media and word of mouth.
Works with every single city department along with a handful of fellows and project managers to ensure the plan is actualized and visible to the public.
Born in Bogota, Colombia, grew up in Phoenix where she volunteered for the neighborhood community center. Bachelors in political science and psychology from University of Arizona (’07) and master’s in non-profit management from Suffolk University (’12). Has two nephews in Arizona who keep her connected to her home state. Enjoys being a “social butterfly” at Boston’s local arts and culture events. Serves on Dorchester YMCA advisory board as well as a “Future Chefs” board.
Went carless in March; now entirely reliant on public transportation and legs. (Happy confession: She lives a 7-minute walk from a major transportation line.)