His speech touched upon a number of challenges the city is facing, from education to public safety to development. The Mayor spoke extensively on Boston’s growing economy and population and what that means for the future of Boston.
“To build a truly thriving, healthy, and innovative Boston—growth by itself isn’t good enough,” said Mayor Walsh. “Our duty at this moment is to make sure our city doesn’t just grow bigger, it grows better.”
What did the Mayor mean by better growth? To him, it’s about addressing Smart Growth and more: “Growth should enhance the best qualities of our city. Neighborhoods should reflect our historic tradition and our bold innovation. Our economy should be world-class and inclusive. New buildings should be creative, sustainable, and inspiring.”
He announced two new “Growth Zones” to spur transit-oriented development: one along Dorchester Avenue or on the Red Line between Broadway and Andrew Station, and the other along the Orange Line between Forest Hills and Jackson Square Station.
He also emphasized the importance of more affordable housing, especially for the middle-class. Housing development, especially when paired with transit, is critical to achieving Greenovate Boston’s goals. If people cannot afford to live in Boston where public transit is convenient and accessible, they are likely to drive more. Not only does this cause congestion, which Boston is already notorious for, but it also affects local air quality and increases greenhouse gas emissions.
Lastly, the Mayor announced an innovative new energy efficiency program for municipal buildings called the Renew Boston Trust. According to the Mayor, this program will “manage energy retrofits of public buildings that are self-financed by future savings.”
While there were many great sound bites from the speech, our favorite by far was “Environmental action is no longer a burden we accept. It is an opportunity we embrace.”