With Wu Inauguration, Allston Residents Look to the Neighborhood’s Future | New
With the inauguration of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu ’07 on Tuesday, residents of Allston said they were optimistic his plans to reconfigure urban development and town planning in Boston would positively benefit the neighborhood as it handles an influx of development projects at Harvard.
Wu, the first woman and person of color to be elected Boston mayor, took office on Tuesday.
According to her campaign website, Wu plans to “abolish” the Boston Planning and Development Agency, an agency she accuses of exacerbating Boston’s “structural inequalities” and displacing residents of Boston. color in recent decades. His administration also plans to prioritize more environmentally friendly development, according to his campaign’s website.
Legally, the city of Boston cannot dissolve the BPDA without state approval. Wu plans to cut the organization’s operating budget and remove its authority over zoning and development in order to functionally “dismantle” the organization, according to the campaign.
Elizabeth A. “Liz” Breadon, city councilor for Allston-Brighton, wrote in an email that she was “thrilled” with Wu’s historic election.
Breadon wrote that she expects Wu to be attentive to the interests of residents in the neighborhood. She added that she expected Wu to support a more âintegratedâ development approach by the Harvard-Allston Land Company instead of the company’s past approach of pursuing individual development projects at Allston.
State representative Michael J. Moran said he hopes Wu will take the time to appoint staff to help him “implement his vision” for the city’s development.
Moran said that one of the reasons he was supporting Wu was because they agree that the government can affect “people’s lives in a positive way.” Like Breadon, he said he hoped for a more coherent and long-term urban development strategy.
âI hope that in future projects, that we see more affordable housing, we will see better sustainability and more long-term planning as opposed to a piecemeal type of planning,â Moran said. .
Moran said he hopes to see greener projects and more open spaces in future Allston projects.
Jane McHale, an Allston resident and supporter of Wu, said she was in favor of BPDA being a “separate entity” from city hall, but was hesitant to support “abolition” of the agency.
McHale, who has also been involved in local development review processes, said BPDA needs to be a “better facilitator”. She cited recruiting liaison between residents and developers who can answer questions and comments on town planning as an example.
Harvard’s current commitments to affordable housing, according to McHale, are “not enough” and argued that the city should make additional investments to deal with the housing crisis.
âThe government pulled out of the housing industry many years ago, and it sort of leaves it to cities and developers, and with the cost of construction drastically increasing thanks to Covid, that margin has become much narrower for developers, âshe added. .
Allstonian Daniel J. Navarro, who did not vote in the mayoral election and does not consider himself a supporter of Wu, said he believes the “woven” developments Harvard has created in the city “may be exclusive” for the surrounding population. in Allston.
In September, Harvard opened its billion-dollar science and technology complex in Allston, which drew mixed reactions from local residents.
Campbell Forbes, another resident of Allston, alleged that Harvard’s development in Allston also led to a proliferation of rats in the neighborhood. He urged the city to tackle the problem.
“[The city administration] must be responsible for the extermination of the little critters and not just let the little critters roam the neighborhood, âForbes added.
University spokesman Brigid O’Rourke wrote in an emailed statement that Harvard was eager to work with the Wu administration on Harvard initiatives.
“We look forward to working with Mayor-elect Wu, his administration and the Allston-Brighton community as the University continues to advance innovative projects and deliver exciting and responsive programs and initiatives throughout the city of Boston. “she wrote.
– Editor James R. Jolin can be contacted at [email protected]
– Editor Maribel Cervantes can be contacted at [email protected]