This week’s installment of the Tufts Environmental Studies Department Lunch & Learn Program brought in Eric Hove, assistant director of regional plan implementation at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) and former assistant director for land use policy at the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs.
Hove began with an outline of planning in general and the MAPC. MAPC covers the Boston metropolitan region, including 3.2 million residents and 1.9 million jobs. Its mission is to promote smart growth and regional collaboration, and it is required by law to produce comprehensive regional plans. The current and continuously updated plan is called MetroFuture. MetroFuture contains 65 goals with 13 implementation strategies, 100s of specific recommendations and 5000 “plan-builders.” It emphasizes sustainable growth patterns, housing choices, healthy communities, regional prosperity, transportation choices and a healthy environment. The Obama administration, in 2010, awarded a $4 million planning grant in order to implement MetroFuture.
Notable from the key program statistics is the number of public meetings, training and education sessions, and participation in the public meetings. This has been an important feature of the project as our region is, according to Hove and MAPC, becoming more diverse but less equal. Hove stressed the importance of planning with instead of for the region’s many vulnerable populations. This included a video game exploration of Quincy as an introduction to urban planning for local residents, and training on how to get involved and influence the conversation. The finer details on who was actually at the table for decision-making processes was unclear, but MAPC certainly makes an outreach effort in this admittedly gigantic-in-scope project.
The full MAPC Sustainable Communities Initiative report can be found here.