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Quick update & question about the Allston-Brighton Community Plan

ABHC Network Forum 0 replies 31 views Tags:  planning
Anne Lin 8 months

As many of you may know, the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) has posted a Request for Proposals for the Allston-Brighton Community Plan. This is anticipated to begin in January 2024 and run for 22 months. My name is Anne - I am a planner at the Cambridge-based firm Grayscale Collaborative. We are part of a co-led team with Agency Landscape + Planning, supported by a group of amazing technical and community advisors (RKG Associates, Toole Design Group, and the Allston-Brighton Health Collaborative leadership team). Regardless of whether we are selected for this work, we want to understand how community members and leaders define the potential opportunities (or challenges) of the upcoming Plan. Specifically: What question do you have about the upcoming Community Plan process? Please let us know in this short survey (linked HERE), or email me at anne@grayscaleco.com. Regardless of whether our team is selected for this work, we will include survey responses as part of the RFP's public record. Your responses will be anonymous unless you elect to have your name and/or organizational affiliation appear on the public proposal. If you'd like us to include your feedback as part of the RFP public record, please fill out this survey before Wednesday (12/6) afternoon.

Copy of Survey Link here: https://forms.gle/z32XLf7HCs1Whe6J8

For everyone's reference, here is a summary of how we are approaching this work:

A community plan must accomplish several things at once: it should articulate values and ideal outcomes, connect implementation strategies to those high-level values, and it needs to center community priorities, expertise, and creativity. Too often, planning documents do not define areas of responsibility or otherwise fail to acknowledge the broader system of actors – including government agencies, service providers, advocacy groups, businesses, and residents – who play a role in the design of places or oversee funding, policy, and program development. Moreover, community stakeholders – those who will be most impacted by planning and design initiatives – often lack a comprehensive understanding about how planning can impact their lives or neighborhoods. Community planning in Boston must move beyond these common pitfalls.

Our approach is designed to address these limitations in partnership with the BPDA and the Allston-Brighton community. At its core, this proposal is focused on how to leverage existing Allston-Brighton assets in the context of a physical neighborhood plan – and to directly respond to the City’s greatest challenges of resilience, affordability, and equity. Our team will manage a planning and design process rooted in co-design principles:

  • Sharing information and sharing power. As detailed in our “Plan of Service – Phasing and Deliverables” section, we begin by (1) identifying the people and partners who should be a part of the community planning process and (2) understanding the broader landscape of community and City priorities. Our goal is to connect land use, zoning, and design recommendations to peoples’ lives. During the planning process, we will tailor deliverables so that they are accessible and relevant for multiple audiences. As detailed below, we will balance technical production with design education and capacity-building, to allow for informed engagement during the development of Plan concepts and implementation strategies.
  • Investing in place-based leadership. This is reflected in our team composition, which includes the Allston-Brighton Health Collaborative as a community advisor. This principle is also key to our planning process: building the capacity of residents to engage in planning and design initiatives, supporting working partnerships across City and community actors, and integrating local technical expertise into plan analyses, recommendations, and physical drawings.
  • Facilitating meaningful dialogue & partnership about the future development of Allston-Brighton communities. We will partner with the BPDA to manage outreach to external and City stakeholders, as the success of this Plan requires participation from both. We want to tailor the implementation strategies to all stakeholders – community-based organizations, residents, the BPDA, and other public and private sector leaders – so that all are motivated to use the final Plan and shape its success in implementation.
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