Boston’s Initiative to Promote Diversity Within Development Industry


Statement on the City of Boston’s Initiative to Promote Diversity Within Boston’s Private Development Industry

Lawyers for Civil Rights Applauds the City’s New Policy to Request Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Information in the Filing Process for Large Private Development Projects

On August 11, 2022, Mayor Michelle Wu and the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) announced a new policy to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in Boston’s private development industry. The policy requires the BPDA to ask applicants seeking approval for large private development projects to disclose how those projects will incorporate opportunities for women and people of color. It remains to be seen how developers will respond to these requests, but Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) commends this important initiative.

Boston’s ongoing building and real estate booms – led by a “largely white and male” private development industry – have left communities of color behind. Rising prices are driving gentrification in historically low-income and diverse areas such as East Boston and the City’s racial home ownership gap continues to widen. Amidst this backdrop, the City’s effort to increase developer transparency and focus on DEI is a welcome one. LCR looks forward to monitoring the rollout of this new policy and hopes to see good faith engagement from developers. On behalf of our client communities, we will be watching with keen interest.