Jennifer Hall

2003 Public Policy Summer Fellow

May 1, 2003
Graduate Degree:Harvard Graduate School of Design
Undergraduate Degree:Stanford University
Area of Interest:Transportation and development
Agency:Boston Redevelopment Authority
Supervisor: John Dalzell, Planner
Project Description:Jennifer worked at the Boston Redevelopment Authority and focused on city efforts to foster transit-oriented development in Boston. The evolving South Boston Waterfront is perhaps the premier example of current transit-oriented development (TOD) in Boston. As a mixed-use extension of the city center, most of the 1,000-acre waterfront district is within a one-quarter mile walk of the new Silver Line transit service to South Station and Logan Airport. Frequent, high-quality transit and a limited parking requirements for developers has attracted high-end residential, office, retail, and hotel projects. Significant public investments – including a well-planned street grid, new waterfront open space, federal courthouse and convention center – have laid the framework for Boston’s newest pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented district. These TOD successes, however, are not the result of a comprehensive transit-oriented development strategy. The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), as authorized by the Massachusetts Legislature and the Boston City Council, " is responsible for all planning and zoning functions as well as economic and industrial development efforts." Jennifer created a TOD planning overview for the City of Boston. She noted that seven kinds of players are important for transit-oriented development, including different levels of government, developers, community advocates, and regional-planning agencies. She also outlined some possible policy options for the Boston Redevelopment Authority to promote transit-oriented development that can be arrayed along a spectrum ranging from "passive" interventions such as requesting transit- friendly modifications to developer-initiated projects, to the crafting of "active" regulations to support specific TOD goals. The BRA can engage in "proactive" efforts to frame neighborhood and citywide strategic plans according to TOD principles and can even act as a "master developer" issuing requests for proposals for specific city-led transit-oriented developments.