After decades of criticism, the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) has undergone a rebranding effort. In late September, Mayor Walsh and city officials announced the plan to transition the BRA to the new Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA). The BRA was founded in 1957 with the goal of revitalizing parts of Boston that were stagnating during the post-war boom of the suburbs.
While the City of Boston is a far cry from what it has been in the recent past, this has not come without intense criticism of the BRA’s role in redevelopment efforts. Neighborhoods have been displaced and residents upset with bureaucrats that appeared to favor developers over local wishes. Many residents viewed redevelopment as unstoppable and saw the BRA as the force driving these changes.
By rebranding as the BPDA, the City hopes to reclaim a sense of trust from the residents and highlight that redevelopment does not have to be a disruptive force, but that with planning, development can be a positive and incremental step forward.