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MAPC | Promoting Smart Growth & Regional Planning

About MAPC

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) is the regional planning agency serving the people who live and work in the 101 cities and towns of Metropolitan Boston.

Established in 1963, MAPC is a public agency created under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 40B Section 24. MAPC is governed by representatives from each city and town in our region, as well as gubernatorial appointees and designees of major public agencies. Learn more about MAPC's Board and Council.

Each municipality in our region belongs to one of eight subregions, each led by one MAPC staff member.

The MetroWest subregion is led by an independent board and director. Each subregion includes municipal officials and regional and community stakeholders, all of whom work together to develop an annual work plan and priorities.

Take a look at our bylaws!

Our Mission

Our mission is to promote smart growth and regional collaboration. Our regional plan, MetroFuture, guides our work as we engage the public in responsible stewardship of our region’s future.

We work toward sound municipal management, sustainable land use, protection of natural resources, efficient and affordable  transportation, a diverse housing stock, public safety, economic development, clean energy, healthy communities, an informed public, and equity and opportunity among people of all backgrounds.

2013 is MAPC's Golden Anniversary year – 50 years of smart growth and regional planning in Greater Boston.

Smart Growth Principles

As the regional planning agency for Greater Boston, MAPC adopts the following smart growth principles to guide our work. Click on them to view!

Encourage community & stakeholder collaboration in development decisions

Smart growth should respond to a community's own sense of how and where it wants to grow. The needs of every community and the programs to address them are best defined by the people who live and work there. An open public process that facilitates the participation of community residents and organizations provides community members with a direct stake in ensuring the success of revitalization efforts, and can lead to creative resolution of development issues.

Preserve open space, farmland, and critical environmental resources

Open space, both within and surrounding developed areas, enhances quality of life by providing community space, recreation opportunities, critical habitat for plants and wildlife, working lands for farming and forestry, and preserves the quality of critical environmental resources such as wetlands, watersheds, and drinking water supplies.

Create a range of housing opportunities and choices in cities and towns throughout the region

Promote diverse housing types in all communities to enable persons and households from a wide range of economic levels, cultures, and age groups to live and work within their boundaries. No single type of housing can serve the varied needs of today's diverse households. Smart growth represents an opportunity for communities to increase housing choice not only by modifying land use patterns on newly-developed land, but also by increasing housing supply in existing neighborhoods already served by infrastructure.

Integrate people and place

Smart growth must integrate people-focused strategies (efforts that support community residents and families) with place-focused strategies (those that support physical development and stabilize the community environment). This integrated approach is necessary to maximize community impact and to reduce unintended negative consequences to either the community or the environment.

Encourage development in currently developed areas to take advantage of existing community assets

Smart growth encourages development in areas where public investments have already been made in infrastructure, parks, schools, and other facilities, seeking to utilize these resources and to conserve open spaces and natural resources in undeveloped areas. In cities, this can mean focusing development on infill sites and abandoned brownfields; in towns, this can mean clustering development around town centers and transportation nodes. Recognizing that the extension of roadways, sewer lines, and other forms of infrastructure can often "drive" sprawl, government agencies should coordinate decisions about public investment in infrastructure in ways that prevent this unintended consequence and encourage smart growth.

Promote more transportation choices through the appropriate development of land

The ability to provide people with more choices in transportation is a key element of smart growth. Better connections between appropriate land use and transportation can support the provision of alternatives to auto use, including transit, para-transit, walking, and bicycling and serve as a guide for effective transportation investments.

Promote regional equity and reduce local and regional disparities

Everyone wants to live in a community where the quality of life is high. If we cooperate across communities and plan carefully for the future, we can achieve a situation where neighborhoods share fairly in the benefits of development and none bears an unfair burden of the social costs associated with planning decisions. Metropolitan regions and communities that reduce local and regional disparities are more likely to compete successfully for national and international economic opportunities.

Mix land uses

Smart growth supports the integration of mixed land uses (such as residential, commercial, and civic uses) into neighborhoods, communities and the region as critical components of achieving better places to live and work. By locating a variety of uses in close proximity to each other at an appropriate scale, alternatives to driving, such as walking, bicycling and transit become viable. Diverse, well designed, mixed use development also enhances the vitality and quality of life in our communities and the region as a whole, eventually weaving a fabric that supports broader housing, economic development and transportation goals.

Develop predictable, fair and cost effective regulatory approvals for smart growth oriented developments

Developments that adhere to smart growth guidelines should be allowed to proceed through public review and regulatory evaluation with a minimum of delay and cost. This will encourage developers to "build smart" while it enhances the relationship among developers, residents, and government agencies.

Strengthen regional cooperation

Most community assets and problems do not recognize municipal boundaries. Regional cooperation is needed to address common concerns, such as traffic, and to protect common resources, such as watersheds. Regional solutions can also encourage the efficient use of funds. Smart growth encourages communities to work together collaboratively to enhance their assets as well as to solve their problems.

Take advantage of compact development design and create walkable neighborhoods

Smart growth provides a means for communities to incorporate more compact development design as an alternative to conventional, land consumptive development. This permits more open space to be preserved, which also reduces the impacts of storm water runoff and flooding. By drawing uses into closer proximity to each other, compact development is essential to support broader transportation choices such as transit, bicycling and walking. It also reduces the cost of providing and maintaining services such as such as water, sewer, utilities and communications.

Encourage fiscal policies that support smart growth

Federal, state and local tax policies should encourage communities to base development decisions on sound planning principles, not tax benefits. Smart growth is best supported by tax policies that encourage careful planning and inter-local cooperation, and discourage "fiscal zoning," inter-local competition, and sprawl. Since sprawl often results in expenses that must be borne by the entire Commonwealth, the formula for the distribution of local aid, the "new growth" provisions of Proposition 2 ½, and other tools should be examined for mechanisms that might encourage smart growth and discourage sprawl.

Promote distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place

Smart growth promotes development that respects and enhances natural and built features and landmarks to create a sense of defined neighborhoods, towns, and regions. It fosters physical environments that reflect the culture and values of the people who live there, while supporting a more cohesive community fabric. It encourages localities to plan wisely for the future, and gives them the power and resources to implement those plans over time.

Promote economic development in ways that produce jobs, strengthen low and moderate-income communities, and protect the natural environment

Economic development is a critical objective for our region's future. Families and individuals throughout Greater Boston need new jobs and opportunities for advancement in order to enhance their futures and to make the region stronger and more competitive. Good planning practice encourages economic development in ways that minimize disruption of the natural environment. We should also strive to direct a reasonable proportion of such development to areas that presently suffer from poverty, a weak job market, and abandoned or undeveloped "brownfield" sites. Programs that provide adequate training and retraining for workers will also help to encourage employers to locate or expand in Greater Boston.

Enable smart growth by reforming existing zoning

Many of the principles of smart growth, such as mixed uses and higher densities, are difficult or impossible to achieve in Massachusetts under the state's zoning enabling law and current local zoning codes. For smart growth to succeed, reforms to zoning are needed to remove disincentives to smart growth.

Getting to MAPC

MAPC is located at the corner of Temple Place and Washington Street. We are located at 60 Temple Place on the 3rd and 6th floors.


Public transit


MAPC is within walking distance from the Park Street MBTA station, accessible by the Red and Green lines; and the Downtown Crossing station, accessible by the Red and Orange lines.

The SL5 Silver Line bus also stops on Temple Place, almost directly in front of the MAPC office. Plan your route to our office using the MBTA Trip Planner.

MAPC is also accessible by bike! There is a Hubway bike station at the corner of Tremont and Temple place, one block from the MAPC office. Plan your cycling route with MAPC's Greater Boston Cycling and Walking Trailmap.

Walking from Park Street Station:

Cross Tremont Street and walk down Winter Street to Washington Street (Macy's will be on the corner). Turn right and walk to the end of the block until you see Temple Place.

Walk down Tremont Street in the direction of Boylston Street until you see Temple Place on the left. Walk to the end of Temple Place.

Walking from Downtown Crossing Station:

There are several exits from the station.

Exiting from Washington Street: walk right on Washington Street until you see Temple Place on the right. Take a right on Temple. MAPC is located at 60 Temple Place.

Exiting from Hawley Street: walk left until you reach Summer Street. Walk right on Summer, towards the intersection of Washington and Summer streets. Take a left onto Washington. Walk one block until you reach Temple Place. MAPC is located at 60 Temple Place.

Exiting from Chauncy Street: walk right on Chauncy until you reach Avenue De Lafayette. Walk down the avenue until you reach Washington Street. Take a right on Washington. Temple Place is the first street on the left. MAPC is located at 60 Temple Place.


Driving


Use Google Maps to find detailed directions from your starting location.

From 93 South: Take I-93 South to exit 20A “South Station”. Take a left on Kneeland Street. Take a right on Washington Street. Continue on Washington Street, past the Paramount Theatre. Take a left onto Temple Place. MAPC is located at 60 Temple Place, right near the intersection of Temple Place and Washington Street.

From 93 North and/or Storrow Drive: Take the I-93 North or Storrow Drive to the Purchase Street / South Station exit. Stay in the right-hand side lane, bearing right on Atlantic Avenue. Continue on Atlantic Avenue until you see Kneeland Street on your right. Take a right on Kneeland Street and continue until you see Washington Street. Continue on Washington Street, past the Paramount Theatre. Take a left onto Temple Place. MAPC is located at 60 Temple Place, right near the intersection of Temple Place and Washington Street.

From the Mass Pike (Route 90E): Take exit 24A “Downtown / South Station”. At the bottom of the ramp turn left at the light onto Kneeland Street. After 4 blocks turn right onto Washington Street. Take a right on Washington Street. Continue on Washington Street, past the Paramount Theatre. Take a left onto Temple Place. MAPC is located at 60 Temple Place, right near the intersection of Temple Place and Washington Street.


Parking


Lafayette Parking Garage
1 De Lafayette Avenue, Boston, MA

Boston Common Garage
Charles Street between the Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden

City Place Garage
8 Park Plaza (40 Charles Street), Boston, MA

Public Meetings and Legal Notices

All public meetings, agendas, and legal notices are posted on our website and listed on our calendar.

MAPC is committed to improving access to our offices, public meetings and programs. The agency values engaging people from every culture, demographic group, and those with physical limitations in our planning processes.

If you require special accommodations in order to be able to participate at an MAPC meeting or event, please contact Heidi Anderson at 617-451-2764 or handerson@mapc.org.

Please request accommodations as far in advance of the event as possible, but at least a week prior to a planned event so that we can have adequate time to accommodate your needs.

Translation and Listening

MAPC owns language interpretation and assisted listening devices that can be brought to our meetings to assist audience members who have special hearing or language needs. We also make these devices available for rent to organizations or municipalities that could benefit from their use.

For more information about renting our interpretation/assisted listening devices, please contact Blyss Cleveland at bcleveland@mapc.org or 617-451-2751.

Listening Device Rental Agreement form.

Accessibility

Website Accessibility

The Commonwealth enterprise standards are generally based on standards used by the Federal government for technology accessibility for people with disabilities, and web content accessibility guidelines developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). For more information about the Federal standards, please visit the Section 508 web site or the Federal Access Board web site. For more information about the W3C guidelines, please visit their web site.

About Portable Document Formats (PDFs)

Some documents on this web site are produced in Portable Document Format (PDF). Efforts are currently underway to ensure that files are produced using the latest version of Acrobat (file conversion software for PDFs), which is the most accessible technology currently available for these types of files. In order to improve viewing of these files, please download the latest version of Adobe Reader™, which is available for free at the Adobe web site.

If any file format prevents you from accessing the information, please contact us for assistance. In order to respond in a manner most helpful to you, please note the nature of your accessibility concern, the format in which you prefer to receive the material, the web page address of the requested material, and the best way to contact you.

We also welcome your questions about this accessibility statement and comments on how to improve the site’s accessibility. Please contact us at 617-451-2770, or by email at communications@mapc.org if you have any questions about our website.

Accessibility

Office Accessibility

MAPC is in the process of making changes to our office spaces in downtown Boston to improve access for visitors or employees who have visual, hearing, or mobility impairments.

Open Spaces in Downtown

One of our employees recently surveyed our offices in a wheelchair in order to gain perspective on the physical accessibility of our building.

Based on the results on the tour, we made several changes within our office space and sent a list of recommendations to the owners of our building. MAPC will continue to evaluate issues of accessibility and make improvements as necessary.

MAPC's draft report on accessibility issues