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BPDA head retiring

Brian Golden

BPDA Director Brian Golden today announced his resignation after eight years in the post.

The move possibly clears the way for Mayor Wu to begin more widespread changes in the way development happens in Boston - the agency, technically a semi-independent authority under state law, has a say in all large and medium-sized new development in Boston and oversees a number of large "urban renewal" zones across the city.

Mayor Walsh appointed Golden, a former Brighton state representative, to head the former Boston Redevelopment Authority. According to the BPDA:

As the BPDA’s chief executive, Golden has managed the biggest building boom in Boston’s history, while ushering in holistic reforms that have improved how the agency supports the residents of Boston. He focused on improving transparency, accountability, and community engagement, while furthering equitable outcomes throughout Boston’s neighborhoods. As Director, Golden led an intensive operational reform effort over multiple years and rebranded the agency from the former Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) to the Boston Planning & Development Agency to better reflect the agency’s mission.

"The Board has seen first hand the instrumental work Brian has led to support economic development and new housing opportunities that lift up our communities, while creating a more transparent, accountable BPDA that better serves the people of Boston," said BPDA Board Chair Priscilla Rojas. "On behalf of the Board, I thank Brian for his many years of service to our city and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors."

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…nevermind, I hope it leaves a mark.

Can we please get rid of this corrupt organization now?

Voting closed 66

Widespread corrupt organization? Can you quote your sources? And yes, I know about the guy who took a $50k bribe from a developer three years ago and got a couple of years of jail time for it.

The organisation had a big turnover after Walsh took office. This is not Menino's BRA. I am not one who often praises government nor Walsh but having attended a number of BPDA meetings over the past few years, I was quite impressed by most of the staff I've come across. Most are quite educated, it's gotten more diverse, they listen and they put up with a lot of non-sense from the public in a professional way. I'd give Brian a B+

Voting closed 82

I mean the BPDA didn’t really do much but rebrand the BRA. The rebranding was only necessary because of decades of well-documented corruption and racism that the BRA had come to represent. Growing up in Boston the BRA was used as slur against local government and still is.

I do think modest reforms the BPDA undertook have improved things, but it also coincided with a political awareness of the injustices the BRA had spent decades creating. So is it the BPDA getting better or the the BPDA responding to political reality? Probably both.

But the BPDA arguably has the most power to create and implement a city-wide affordable housing plan. They haven’t.

I’d give Brian and the BPDA a NP but not an F. The next BPDA leader must create a city wide plan to address affordable housing and enforce it against the intransigent local developers who are more interested in making money than a viable city.

Piecemeal development and kicking the promise of affordable housing down the road every time is hollowing out this city. And that’s 100% on the BPDA.

Voting closed 45

The reality is that the outdated authority model that the BPDA still uses gives the mayor a level of control and lack of transparency that mayors in other cities just don't have. Last I read there was only one other city that still had a similar model.

It's why the BPDA will never be abolished and most change will be incremental. Walsh campaigned on abolishing it, and then just rebranded it. Yes, there were improvements, but there was still plenty of corruption, even if only one person got in trouble for it.

We'll see what happens with Wu, but I doubt she'll follow through and abolish it.

Voting closed 28

I recommend reading the Ed Logue (BRA head in the 1960s) biography that came out a few years back.

At the end of the day, ending the BPDA without having a successor agency that deals with large development project and overall city planning is a recipe for failure. I thought the Menino BRA was a bad organization, but the folks who worked on rezoning Roslindale worked hard at getting community input and developing a plan that reflected the neighborhood.

And as others have noted, 1 corruption case in, let's mark White's administration as corrupt and work with 39 years, isn't a bad track record all in all.

Voting closed 24

You forgot to take Christine Araujo with you!

Voting closed 59

Right. Not here to sing Golden's praises but Araujo should have been gone long before him. Still waiting on the mayor there...

Voting closed 20

The rest of the ZBA and the licensing board.

Voting closed 41

I'm assuming Wu asked/told him to leave. Which is a good thing.

Voting closed 56

this means something substantial will finally change about this agency.

Voting closed 34

but he presided over implementation of policies which did irreparable damage to what was left of real neighborhoods in Boston. He should have been gone on November 10, 2021.

Voting closed 18

The BRA/BPDA under Golden was a powerful force for good.
Essentially doubled housing production while also increasing income-restricted affordable units to a consistent 20%.
Did planning/rezoning initiatives at dozens of key sites, unlocking long-needed density along transit lines and investment in neglected neighborhoods.
Wu wants to start planning and zoning from scratch, citywide. That's a street-by-street political dogfight the likes of which we have never seen. Investment in the city could be frozen or hamstrung right into the next recession.

Voting closed 55

I wish I lived in the city where the BPDA "focused on improving transparency, accountability, and community engagement, while furthering equitable outcomes throughout Boston’s neighborhoods.". Golden accomplished none of this, continued to put developers/development first, and has left us with an even steeper hill to climb on issues of affordable housing, sustainable development, and a vision for the city. He did nothing to change the culture and climate of the BPDA during his tenure. I hope that this marks a truly new phase of actual planning, not responding to development opportunities. No change was possible with him in charge. Where Golden works next will be a big indicator of his core values - I expect him to sign on a a large development company, or to found his own.

Voting closed 22

Or has this gentleman's corporate head shot been photoshopped to the point where he looks like a Real Estate Ken doll?

Maybe one of those Disney filters?

Voting closed 21