Smart Growth & Regional Collaboration
The Inner Core Committee (ICC), consisting of 21 cities and towns within the metropolitan Boston area, is a forum to explore issues of mutual concern and foster joint action.
The ICC is MAPC's largest subregion, representing the largest number of municipalities of any subregion: about 51 percent of the MAPC region’s population - over 1.6 million residents. As some of the most urban and populous communities within the MAPC planning area, ICC cities and towns deal with a host of unique challenges, such as finite developable land, issues of neighborhood change and gentrification, limited affordability, congestion, and public transit capacity limitations, to name a few. The ICC meets regularly to discuss these and other topics, share best planning practices, and explore opportunities for regional collaboration.
Contact the ICC Subregional Coordinator, Karina Milchman, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership and Leadership
The ICC consists of representatives from 21 of the metropolitan area’s innermost communities: Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Lynn, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Milton,* Needham*, Newton, Quincy, Revere, Saugus, Somerville, Waltham, Watertown, and Winthrop. The Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council are also voting members of the Committee.
*Milton and Needham have dual membership in ICC and the Three Rivers Interlocal Council (TRIC).
The ICC Co-chairs for FY18 are John DePriest, Director of Planning and Development at the City of Chelsea and Dan Bartman, Senior Planner for the City of Somerville.
Inner Core Communities
Fiscal Year 2022
July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022
October 20, 2021
The ICC met in October to kick off the new fiscal year with a meeting on housing, specifically the new Housing Choice legislation. The meeting began with a presentation by Chris Kluchman, Deputy Director of the Community Services Division at DHCD, on changes to MGL Chapter 40A and how to determine the voting threshold for different zoning and permitting activities. Discussion focused on who determines the voting threshold and on parking reduction under Housing Choice. Next, Tim Reardon, Director of Data Services at MAPC, presented a proposal for how to define “reasonable size” under Section 3A of Chapter 40A (aka the new multifamily mandate). Staff from the City of Salem who were scheduled to share their recent zoning for ADUs were unfortunately not able to attend. The meeting concluded with a robust community exchange about the use of Housing Choice in the inner core and, on a different note, implementing a rental registration program.
Fiscal Year 2021
July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021
June 16, 2021
The ICC met in June to close out the year and discuss issues pertaining to climate and clean energy. Aaron Toffler, Director of Policy for Boston Harbor Now, and Paul Kirshen, Director of the Stone Living Lab, presented research on resilience in Boston harbor. Sarah Dooling, Executive Director of Mass Climate Action Network, shared advocacy work for the Net Zero Stretch Code. Discussion between the speakers and the ICC members focused on how local planners and policymakers can support clean energy objectives. The meeting also featured updates from MAPC’s Government Affairs Department, focused on the capital and operating budgets and the agency’s legislative agenda. The meeting closed out with a unanimous vote for the FY22 work plan and to re-elect Co-chairs Dan Bartman of Somerville and John DePriest of Chelsea.
April 21, 2021
The ICC met in April for a two-part meeting to discuss the future of the region. The first portion focused on MetroCommon 2050 policy recommendations. After a brief overview, members provided input on housing strategies pertaining to publicly-owned land and regional collaboration, amongst other ideas. The ICC, as well as many others, will have further opportunity to comment on MetroCommon this month via a new survey. Keep an eye out for a link soon! The second portion focused on the future of the ICC, with members developing a new work plan for FY22. In June, the ICC will meet to vote on the work plan and co-chairs before breaking for the summer.
March 17, 2021
The ICC met in March to discuss public processes during the pandemic and beyond. We were joined by guests from coUrbanize, Nelson Nygaard, and DS4SI. Presentations focused on access and behavior in online engagement, including what’s changed over the past year and how to facilitate productive two-way communication online; how to develop and utilize a racial equity framework in transportation planning and engagement; and how participatory action research has helped planning efforts around Union Square in Somerville to be more inclusive and receptive to input from stakeholders that don’t consistently have the opportunity to engage in such processes. After the presentations, discussion shifted to participation in remote public hearings and meetings, facilitating productive public discourse, and storytelling tools.
January 20, 2021
The ICC met in January to discuss the intersection of public health and land use, including challenges and opportunities created by the pandemic. Discussion focused on safe building design and development and on productive, safe use of open and public spaces. Representatives from 17 Inner Core municipalities were joined by speakers from the architecture and interior firm Dyer Brown, Bench Consulting, the Central Square Business Improvement District, Flagg Street Studio, and the City of Salem. We discussed the WELL Building Standard, winter placemaking strategies, Starlight Square in Cambridge’s Central Square, and reclaiming street space in Salem. In addition, MAPC staff provided a legislative update, including features of the Economic Development Bond Bill and the MBTA multifamily requirement, which was considered via the new Zoning Atlas.
November 12, 2020
The ICC met in November to discuss housing, including needs and responses to housing instability brought on by COVID-19 and housing planning work more generally. The meeting began with a legislative update from MAPC, including information on the Governor’s Eviction Diversion Initiative, followed by a presentation on the latest iteration of the agency’s COVID-19 Layoff Housing Gap work. Moving onto housing efforts that are not crisis-response focused, MassHousing shared new programs committed to narrowing the racial homeownership gap and Boston’s iLab spoke of its Future Decker Competition. The meeting concluded with discussion of local strategies to respond to residents’ needs during the pandemic and zoning efforts to address a lack of housing and Affordable Housing specifically.
October 21, 2020
The ICC held its Annual Legislative Breakfast to bring together inner core members and legislators to discuss public health, economic development, housing, and transportation. The ICC was joined by municipal planning colleagues, mayors, and managers to hear from Representative Christine Barber, Senator Sal DiDomenico, Representative Kevin Honan, and Representative Jon Santiago. COVID-19 and its impacts on the inner core were key themes of the meeting, including its effect on communities of color, families, and state and municipal finance, as well as increased unemployment and housing insecurity throughout the region. The meeting began with an overview of the ICC and the work District Local Technical Assistance (DLTA) supports in the subregion. MAPC Interim Executive Director Rebecca Davis then gave an update on MAPC’s work at the statehouse, followed by a panel discussion among the legislators. After, ICC members and guests were invited to ask questions of the legislators.
September 16, 2020
In September, the ICC reconvened after several months off for a meeting focused on economic resiliency and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. MAPC presented the Unemployment Rapid Response Plan it drafted over the summer. The plan focuses on the action steps that municipalities can take to ensure the ongoing delivery of community lifelines—like housing, childcare, medical supplies and care, food, and internet access—through the pandemic, and steps to mitigate against future economic shocks. Guest speakers representing The Enterprise Center, Chattanooga, and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission focused on strategies to bridge the digital divide during the pandemic. Later, members engaged in a community exchange about local efforts to provide devices and access to students, older adults, and other populations lacking this kind of connection. After, MAPC’s Government Affairs team provided a legislative update, with a focus on where bills currently stand and what to watch for in the final months of this session.
Fiscal Year 2020
July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020
June 17, 2020
The ICC held its final bimonthly meeting of fiscal year 2020 in June via Zoom. The meeting included a vote to adopt the FY21 Work Plan and to elect FY21 co-chairs, Dan Bartman of Somerville and John DePriest of Chelsea. There was also a packed agenda focused on economic development, including small business recovery and current, short-, and long-term workforce development strategies. The members were joined by municipal economic development planning staff, MAPC Chief of Economic Development Betsy Cowan, and Stefanie Shull with CONNECT Partnership, TND. The meeting concluded with legislative updates provided by Leah Robins with MAPC’s Government Affairs Department, which focused on COVID-19 response efforts and the next budget and legislative session.
May 20, 2020
The ICC held its May meeting via Zoom to focus on work planning for the next fiscal year. After a community exchange focused on response to COVID-19, the members evaluated the last year and discussed goals for the next. A list of new topics to explore was generated, which will guide agenda development for future bimonthly meetings. Please see the FY21 Work Plan on this website for more information.
April 22, 2020
In accordance with social distancing guidance, the ICC convened in April via an online meeting platform. Discussion focused on the impacts of COVID-19 on the subregion and emergency response and recovery resources. With 16 of the 21 inner core cities and towns present, meeting participants heard from MAPC staff on updates on state actions, new data analysis on the intersection of unemployment and housing costs, workforce recovery efforts, and homelessness response efforts. The group then discussed unique challenges to the planning field at this time, including conducting digital public processes and how to advance zoning and permitting.
January 15, 2020
Representatives from Arlington, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Needham, Newton, Quincy, Revere, Saugus, Somerville, and Watertown attended a transportation-focused ICC meeting with the Boston MPO. Information on new transit modernization, dedicated bus lane, and climate resiliency funding programs was shared. Discussion focused on shared roles and responsibilities of agencies, the need to better link studies to appropriate funding sources and timelines, a desire to collaborate with the MBTA to enhance transit, the need to better incorporate equity into project prioritization, and specific project ideas. Interested parties can stay in touch by subscribing to the MPO’s mailing list and following them on Twitter @BostonRegionMPO.
November 20, 2019
The ICC met in November to discuss multifamily housing in the Commonwealth and displacement concerns in the inner core. Amy Dain, public policy analyst, shared findings from her research on where zoning allows multifamily housing development, at what densities, and through what kind of permitting processes. MAPC’s Research Division shared new work on understanding displacement, including gentrification- and turnover-associated displacement at the household and community levels. Discussion included a potential ICC project to study the impacts of new residential development on the costs of surrounding housing stock. Staff for the MPO shared news about the TIP and there was also discussion of the Census 2020.
September 18, 2019
The ICC kicked off FY20 with a meeting focused on new approaches to community outreach and engagement. Katherine Levine Einstein of Boston University presented findings from her study of who participates in local government. The answer? An unrepresentative sample of the population. Susan Silberberg of CivicMoxie shared observations from the field about effective strategies to engage the public, such as working with local leaders and bringing meetings to wherever stakeholders convene rather than inviting them elsewhere. The membership also heard an update on the legislative session, phase 2 of MAPC’s Perfect Fit Parking initiative, and ongoing work on MBTA’s bus shelters.
Fiscal Year 2019
July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019
June 19, 2019
In June, the ICC met to vote on business for the next fiscal and to explore creative communications strategies in planning. The membership unanimously voted in favor of Co-chairs John DePreist, Chelsea, and Dan Bartman, Somerville, serving in FY20. The FY20 Work Plan was also adopted with a unanimous vote. Karin Brandt, founder of coUrbanize, spoke to the membership about her company’s efforts to engage the public in planning processes through a combination of digital and real life strategies. A 3D model developed by MAPC to help the public visualize zoning amendments was shared with the membership. And MAPC’s recent communications work in the City of Salem was presented, including a video narrative of the housing challenges in that community.
May 15, 2019
The ICC met in May to work plan for the next fiscal year. The membership discussed the ICC mission statement and how to advance it through next year’s bimonthly meetings through meeting format and focus areas. Attendance and local areas of interest and effort were also discussed.
April 3, 2019
The ICC met to discuss climate and public health with area experts. The meeting started with a discussion of Energy Codes with Nicole Sanches, Clean Energy Coordinator at MAPC. Next was Heidi Stucker, Assistant Director of Public Health at MAPC, who spoke about a Climate Perspectives project that assessed climate change impacts on workers in vulnerable industries like farming, fishing, and construction. Hannah Payne with the City of Somerville’s Office of Sustainability + Environment shared the new Climate Forward action plan. The meeting concluded with an activity facilitated by the Greater Boston Research Advisory Group (G-BRAG) out of UMass Boston focused on updating climate change projections.
January 23, 2019
At the start off of new year, the ICC was invited to a special breakfast to kick-off MetroCommon 2050, Greater Boston’s next long-range regional plan, in the subregion. The breakfast drew ICC members, other municipal staff, and local elected and appointed officials to Southern Kin, a restaurant at Assembly Row in Somerville. The event kicked-off with a presentation on MAPC’s recent effort to understand local planning goals through a review of local master and other plans. The bulk of the meeting was spent in small groups, discussing opportunities and challenges we need to plan for over the next 30 years.
November 28, 2018
The November ICC meeting focused on housing. There was discussion of different methodologies to understand projected housing need and demand and established housing goals, followed by discussion of strategies to build support for initiatives to expand housing opportunity. MAPC provided an update on recent housing work and the launch of MetroCommon 2050, Greater Boston’s next long-range regional plan, in the subregion. Finally, the ICC discussed legislative priorities.
September 19, 2018
The first ICC meeting of our fiscal year focused largely on transportation. Discussion included an update on the Transportation Network Company (Rideshare) Funds, MBTA’s new automatic fare collection system, and Focus40. ICC membership also received an update from MAPC’s Government Affairs Department on goings-on at the state house and from MAPC’s Chief of Economic Development about new work in this topic area.
Fiscal Year 2018
July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018
June 20, 2018
The final meeting of FY18 included a discussion of health and housing with MAPC’s Public Health Department, our Clean Energy Department’s Green Mobility Group Purchasing Program, Brookline’s recent efforts to regulate cannabis, and MAPC’s Metropolitan Mayors Coalition’s Climate Preparedness Taskforce. A vote on the FY19 work plan and co-chairs was postponed until the September meeting.
- June ICC Agenda
- June ICC Meeting Recap
- Brookline Marijuana Zoning By-Law
- MAPC Aftermarket Conversion Bid - Vehicle Specifications Form
- MAPC Electric Vehicle Charging Station Group Bid - Specifications Form
- Metro Mayors: Urban Forestry & Carbon Trading
- Arlington Housing Production Plan Health Addendum
- MAPC Green Mobility Program
- General Health
May 23, 2018
This housing-focused meeting included discussion of how to build housing coalitions with A Better Cambridge and the MSGA’s Great Neighborhoods initiative, alternative and small-scale housing with French 2D and FWD Partners, and MAPC’s Metropolitan Mayors Coalition’s Regional Housing Task Force.
- MSGA Letter to Chairman Sanchez
- State House News: Senate scraps House Plan with vote to tax short-term rentals like Hotels
- State House News Service: House votes to Tax and Regulate rooms rented through services like Airbnb
- Alternative Housing: Testing New Models in Greater Boston
- FY19 Budget Summary
March 21, 2018
The March ICC meeting focused on arts and culture planning, including recent work by MAPC’s division in Boston and Arlington, by the Arts + Business Council of Greater Boston, by the Transformative Culture Project, and by the Mass Cultural Council.
January 17, 2018
The ICC met to hear about and discuss MassDOT’s Focus40 25-year plan for MBTA assets, the MBTA’s recent efforts to implement transit signal priority pilots, MPO updates including the next Long Range Transportation Plan for federal dollars, a local bus-rapid-transit-light pilot in Everett, and new no-cost dockless bike shares.
November 15, 2017
The Inner Core Legislative Breakfast brought together ICC members, City Councilors and Planning Board members, and Representatives Aaron Michlewitz of the Joint Committee on Financial Services and Representative Mark Cusack of the Joint Committee on Marijuana policy to discuss short-term rentals and recreational marijuana.
September 20, 2017
Inner Core meeting on economic development, including an update on the Community Benefits District bill by the MSGA, how cities can attract and work with incubators by Greentown Labs, and an update on MAPC's Economic Development Divison.
Fiscal Year 2017
July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017
January 18, 2017
Inner Core meeting on MS4 stormwater permit requirements and the Imagine Boston 2030 master planning process.
March 22, 2017
Inner Core meeting on equity in the region, featuring presentations on MAPC’s State of Equity Indicators Report and Mayor Walsh’s anti-displacement legislative agenda by the Boston Department of Neighborhood Development.
- Economic Development Presentation
- Community Benefit Districts (CBDs)
- Business Improvement Districts and CBDs
- Greentown Labs Overview for Veolia
May 17, 2017
Inner Core meeting on transportation, including discussion of value capture, MAPC’s Perfect Fit Parking tool, and bus rapid transit in Metro Boston by Mary Skelton Roberts of the Barr Foundation.
- Metro Boston Perfect Fit Parking Initiative
- Value Capture Executive Summary
- Boston BRT request
- Beauty and the Bus
June 14, 2017
The annual Inner Core meeting gave members the opportunity to vote on revised bylaws and the FY18 work plan, as well as learn about MAPC’s MasBuilds collaborative inventory of development, discussion the benefits of vision zero, and hear about the MassWorks Infrastructure Program from Director Erica Kreuter of the MA Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.
Fiscal Year 2016
July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016
June 15, 2016
Inner Core meeting on design and procurement for great playspaces, featuring guests from Kaboom!, the Trust for Public Land, and the City of Chelsea.
March 16, 2016
Inner Core meeting on several topics: Legislative Updates, MAPC-Urban Land Institute (ULI) Developers Roundtable, Arts and Planning Toolkit preview, Boston Creates Cultural Planning process overview, and an overview of innovation infrastructure in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
- MAPC-ULI Developer's Roundtable Report
- Boston Creates Cultural Planning Overview
- EOHED Innovation Infrastructure Overview
January 20, 2016
Inner Core meeting on food system planning in the subregion, featuring MAPC's Food System Planner Heidi Stucker.
November 18, 2015
Inner Core Meeting on several topics: Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, Legislative Updates, Development Database, Transportation Updates - MBTA Focus40 Capital Planning Process, TIP & UPWP, and LandLine: Metro Boston Regional Greenway Planning Project
- CEDS Presentation
- MAPC Development Database
- Focus40 Capital Planning Presentation
- LandLine Regional Greenway Planning Project
September 16, 2015
Inner Core Outreach and Engagement TalkShop: Presentations and Discussion with guests from the City of Boston, the City of Somerville, and the Town of Arlington
Fiscal Year 2015
July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015
April 9, 2015
Inner Core Session on Managing Stormwater Through Low Impact Development and Green Infrastructure
March 12, 2015
Inner Core Committee Forum on Housing. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about regional housing and local housing planning in the Inner Core, discuss emerging issues, and hear about innovative housing initiatives and projects in Boston, Watertown, and Somerville.
October 7, 2014
Discussion on the Long Range Transportation Plan and Presentation on the Massachusetts Housing Data Portal
December 11, 2014
Discussion of Subregional Ideas for the District Local Technical Assistance/Planning for MetroFuture Program and Presentation of the Housing for Middle-Income Housholds Project and Regional Greenway Planning Project
Fiscal Year 2014
July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2014
October 2, 2013
Inner Core Committee Leadership Transition and FY14 Work Plan
September 4, 2013
Health Impact Assessments
Fiscal Year 2013
July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2013
June 5, 2013
MetroBoston DataCommon Training Workshop
- Learn more about the MetroBoston DataCommon
May 1, 2013
Meeting on the Local Energy Action Program and regional transportation priorities
April 3, 2013
Meeting on Preparing for Climate Change in Greater Boston
February 6, 2013
Meeting on Organizing and Economic Development Summit: Lessons from Revere
December 5, 2012
Meeting on Regional Transportation Priorities
November 7, 2012
Meeting on Legislative Priorities and Sustainable Communities, ICC Work Plan Update
October 3, 2012
Meeting on FY13 Sustainable Communities Proposal and ICC Annual Work Plan
- Inner Core Committee FY13 Sustainable Communities Proposal
- Meeting highlights (coming soon)
Fiscal Year 2012
July 1, 2011 - June 30, 2012
June 26, 2012
Walking Tour of the Blueback Herring River Route
- Event flyer
- Map of the Blueback Herring River Route
- How to Develop Walking Routes to the Lower Mystic River and its Tributaries: A Tool Kit
June 6, 2012
Meeting on Inner Core transportation priorities and ideas for the FY13 Sustainable Communities work plan
- Meeting Highlights
- June 13, 2012 letter to the Boston MPO regarding ICC comments on FFYs 2013-2016 TIP
- June 13, 2012 letter to the Boston MPO regarding ICC comments on FFY 2013 UPWP
May 2, 2012
Meeting on Green Communities and the Local Energy Action Program (LEAP)
April 4, 2012
Training Workshop on Getting the Census Data You Need Using American FactFinder 2
This event was funded by the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant. It was co-sponsored by the American Planning Association Massachusetts Chapter (APA-MA), the Mel King Institute for Community Building, the US Census Bureau, and the Tufts GIS Center. 2 AICP CM credits offered, currently pending approval.
- Event flyer
- Questions for the Workshop Instructor? For questions on Census, ACS, and American FactFinder, or to schedule a workshop for your community, please contact US Census Bureau Data Dissemination Specialist Alexandra Barker.
- Fill out a workshop evaluation here.
March 7, 2012
Breakfast Workshop on Innovative Outreach Strategies and Effective Public Meetings
This event was funded by the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant and the American Planning Association Massachusetts Chapter (APA-MA). It was co-sponsored by APA-MA and the Mel King Institute for Community Building. 2 AICP CM credits offered, currently pending approval.
- Event flyer
- Handouts including agenda, speaker biographies, and event materials related to community engagement and facilitating meetings
- Meeting evaluation form - please send to email@example.com when complete
February 1, 2012
Meeting on Regional Transportation Priorities including FFYs 2013-2016 TIP and FFY 2013 UPWP
- March 21, 2012 Letter to Boston MPO regarding ICC Transportation Priorities for FFYs 2013-2016 TIP
- ICC FFYs 2013-2016 TIP Development Presentation
- ICC FFYs 2013-2016 Draft Universe of TIP Projects
January 4, 2012
Meeting on Municipal Governments and Accessibility Issues
December 7, 2011
Meeting on Inner Core Census Data Trends