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Urban Design: How it Happens in Boston

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) defines urban design as "the art and science of shaping a city's public realm, collectively comprised of public spaces, the activities that occur within them, and the buildings that frame them."An Urban Design Departmentplays a key role within the BPDA. That department's staff is charged with making sure Boston's historic character remains intact in conjunction with contemporary development.The group uses design principles and visual aids to inform development planning studies about the appropriateness of various heights, densities, and characteristics.The design review process looks at projects large and small, and also takes into consideration how the public in particular, pedestrians can interact with related open spaces, streets, and anything else at ground level.The BPDA also has a full time model builder who keeps the wooden city model (shown here) up to date. It doesn't show all of the city, but much of the downtown area, including Back Bay, Beacon Hill, the North End, and Charlestown.Learn more about the BPDA and what its Urban Design Department does, and how, here.

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