Virtual Briefing: updating the Zero net Carbon Zoning initiative

Wednesday, February 21, 2024 | 12-1 PM Virtual 

A Better City Energy & Environment Advisory Committee Meeting 

Wednesday February 14, 2024 | 9-10 AM | 14 Beacon Street, Boston, MA & Hybrid

A Better City Transportation & Infrastructure Advisory Committee Meeting 

Wednesday, February 7, 2024 | 9-10 AM | 14 Beacon Street, Boston, MA & Hybrid
We were joined both virtually and in person by members and stakeholders on February 7th to discuss and approve the proposed 2024 Transportation & Infrastructure Policy Agenda. This agenda is a working document and will continue to be revised as needed. We encourage you to reach out to the team to provide feedback on our/your priorities, share stories, or seek our support on something. In the near term, please share your experiences on the MBTA shutdown and alternative service operations with callenconnelly@abettercity.org.

A Better City Conversation: BERDO 2.0 Regulations and Next Steps | Watch | Slides

Monday, February 5, 2024 | 12-1:30 PM | 14 Beacon Street, Boston, MA & Hybrid
On February 5, A Better City hosted a meeting with the City of Boston’s Building Emissions Reduction and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO) team to hear about the newly finalized BERDO 2.0 regulations and polices, and the next steps for implementation. During the course of the 90-minute event, Hannah Payne, Director of Carbon Neutrality, Dima Moujahed, Carbon Neutrality Project Manager, and Diana Vasquez, BERDO Review Board Manager delivered a presentation that covered a general BERDO overview, as well as upcoming emissions standard and compliance dates, details on the calculation of emissions, options for reducing emissions, flexibility measures, fines and enforcement, flexibility measure application forms and deadlines, and resources being offered by the City of Boston. You can access the presentation slides here, as well as the event recording here. Additionally, be sure to check out our user-friendly blog post that summarizes the regulatory process and upcoming deadlines. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to ytorrie@abettercity.org.with any questions or feedback!

BERDO Commercial Real Estate Working Group Kick-Off Meeting

Wednesday, January 31, 2024 | 12-1 PM | Virtual
On January 31, A Better City convened the kick-off meeting of the City of Boston's BERDO Commercial Real Estate Working Group. The City of Boston asked A Better City to convene this formal working group to lead discussions regarding topics and potential issues that arise for commercial real estate stakeholders, and provide updates to the BERDO Review Board. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to ytorrie@abettercity.org

A better city conversation with Mbta General Manager Phil Eng

Monday, January 29, 2024 | 9-10 AM | 14 Beacon Street, Boston, MA & Hybrid
On January 29, we were joined by MBTA General Manager Phil Eng. The GM discussed the MBTA's ambitious track work underway as well as other agency priorities and participated in a robust Q&A discussion with members. 

virtual briefing: Squares + Streets 

Tuesday, January 23, 2024 | 12-1 PM | Virtual 
On January 23, we reviewed the status of the City’s Squares and Streets initiative with staff of the BPDA prior to submitting comments on the related proposed zoning language. We reviewed an earlier version of the initiative in our Land Use and Development Advisory Committee and our Executive Committee in October 2023. The new zoning language is the first step in a city-wide zoning reform effort, and this is an opportunity to help shape that work.

virtual BRIEFING: National Grid Modernization Plan

Tuesday, December 12, 2023 | 9-10 AM | Virtual
On December 12, we were joined by Melissa Lavinson from National Grid to learn about their draft Electric Sector Modernization Plan (ESMP) that outlines the critical investments needed over the next five years, ten years and beyond, to meet the Commonwealth’s climate change, clean energy, and equity goals as established in the 2050 Clean Energy and Climate Plan. National Grid is seeking input from stakeholders to be included in their final ESMP that is due to the DPU in January 2024. Watch the recording here and view the presentation here

A BETTER CITY EXTREME HEAT WORKING GROUP | Recap 

Wednesday, December 6, 2023 | 12:00-1:30 PM | 14 Beacon Street, Boston, MA & Hybrid
At this meeting, we discussed extreme heat and urban forestry updates at the city, state, and federal levels since our last convening in April, provided an update on our extreme heat safety communications pilot and data visualization work, and solicited input from the working group. For more information, contact igambill@abettercity.org.

Annual Norman B. Leventhal EXCELLENCE IN CITY BUILDING AWARDS 

Monday, December 4, 2023 | 6 PM | Boston Harbor Hotel
Named in memory of A Better City’s founding director, the Norman B. Leventhal Excellence in City Building Awards recognize the leaders and innovators who have made significant contributions to our built environment. On December 4, 2023, at the Boston Harbor Hotel, A Better City honored a particularly impressive slate of civic leaders and visionaries that are continuing to build a better city for all: Rick Dimino, Ted Landsmark, Kathy Abbott, and Alex Krieger. View the full program here.

A Better City Annual Board of Directors Meeting with Secretary Yvonne Hao

Wednesday, November 29, 2023 | 8-9:30 AM | 155 Seaport Boulevard, Boston, MA 

A BETTER CITY BUILDING TOUR & EMERGING LEADERS PROGRAM RELAUNCH

Tuesday, November 14, 2023 | 3:30-5 PM | One Congress Street, Boston, MA
On November 14th, we were joined by members and stakeholders for a comprehensive tour of State Street's new headquarters at One Congress Street. The tour was followed by a happy hour to relaunch A Better City's Emerging Leaders Program for young professionals under 40.

A BETTER CITY AUTHOR TALK: DAVID GAMBLE

Wednesday, November 15, 2023 | 12-1 PM | 14 Beacon Street, Boston, MA
On November 15th, we hosted a panel discussion with David Gamble author and editor of Idea City: How to Make Boston More Livable, Equitable, and Resilient University of Massachusetts Press 2023, a collection of essays written by area experts to address some of the most pressing challenges and opportunities of our time. Essay contributors include A Better City Board Member Tamara Roy of Stantec, 
Norman B. Leventhal Awardee Ted Landsmark, and Matt Kiefer of Goulston Storrs. Panelists Include Tamara Roy, Matt Kiefer, and Kate Gilbert.

A Better City Energy & Environment Advisory Committee Meeting

Friday, November 3, 2023 | 12-1 PM | 14 Beacon Street, Boston, MA & Hybrid
On November 3rd, we were joined by Chris Osgood, Senior Advisor for Infrastructure at the City of Boston, who updated us on the City’s resiliency priorities and ongoing efforts, including the future of the Climate Ready Boston assessments. View the presentation here

A BETTER CITY AUTHOR TALK: DANIEL DAIN

Wednesday, October 11, 2023 | 12-1 PM | 14 Beacon Street, Boston, MA
On October 11th, we were joined by author and Board Member Daniel Dain for an overview and discussion of Dain’s new book: The History of Boston. This book explores Boston’s long and complex history, while examining the policies and practices that have led to the successes and challenges the city faces today. Daniel is the Co-Founder of Dain Torpy, and he has served on the A Better City Board of Directors since 2015. 

A BETTER CITY CONVERSATION: MBTA SAFETY CHIEF PATRICK LAVIN

Wednesday, September 12, 2023 | 12:30-1:30 PM | 14 Beacon Street, Boston, MA
On September 12th, Patrick Lavin, MassDOT Chief Safety Officer, joined A Better City members and staff to discuss plans to improve safety on the MBTA system.

Thursday, August 10, 2023 | In person

A Better City members and staff gathered for a tour of Boston University’s Center for Computing and Data Sciences Building (CCDS). The Center is 100% fossil fuel-free, the most environmentally sustainable and energy efficient structure BU has ever built, and one of the greenest buildings in all of New England. It is heated and cooled using 31 geothermal wells drilled 1,500 feet undergroundThe event began with a presentation from the project team, followed by a tour of the building. 

 

MONDAY, JULY 17, 2023 | VIRTUAL | RECAP WATCH

The Wharf District Council, a neighborhood organization representing the district’s residents, businesses, property owners, and institutions, formed a public/private task force in 2020 to develop a conceptual resiliency masterplan. Building upon previous studies by the City of Boston, the intent was to develop amongst all stakeholders a consensus solution around a continuously elevated harbor’s edge. After twelve months of study and discussion with the help of the ARUP team of consultants, the Task Force delivered its recommendation in June 2023. We were joined virtually to learn about the plan and potential next steps from Marc Margulies and Derek Anderson.

THURSDAY, JULY 13, 2023 | IN PERSON | RECAP 

Please join us to learn more about the Healey-Driscoll Administration's energy and environmental priorities with Secretary Rebecca Tepper, head of the Commonwealth's Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 28, 2023 | VIRTUAL | WATCH 

A Better City was joined by representatives from MassDOT, the MBTA, and MassPort for a virtual briefing on the planned closure of the Sumner Tunnel and array of transportation alternatives that will be offered through the Commonwealth’s #DitchTheDrive campaign. Learn more here.

Tuesday, june 20, 2023 | in Person | RECAP

What is the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project and what does it mean for the future of our region? In June we hosted an in-person panel event to explore how the project will unlock economic opportunity and enhance mobility in Greater Boston and beyond. The event will discuss the findings of the Economic Benefits of the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project Report, commissioned by A Better City and prepared by AECOM, and panelists will offer unique perspectives about how the project is poised to support sustainable, equitable, and smart growth in the region. 

Featured Speakers

Arthur Jemison, Chief of Planning and Director of Boston Planning and Development Agency, City of Boston
Richard Dimino, President Emeritus, A Better City

Panelists

Timothy Murray, President and CEO, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce

Jeanne Pinado, Executive Vice President, Colliers

Jessica Robertson, I-90 Allston Multimodal Project Task Force

Moderator
Kate Dineen, President & CEO, A Better City

THURSDAY, JUNE 8, 2023 | VIRTUAL | RECAP | WATCH

A Better City was joined by Alison Brizius, Commissioner of the Environment Department in the City of Boston, for a conversation about current and developing building policies that will affect large buildings in Boston. The following topics were discussed: BERDO 2.0; the updated Stretch Energy Code; the Opt-In Specialized Stretch Energy Code; the Fossil Fuel Free Demonstration pilot; Zero Net Carbon Zoning; and the Article 80 Review update.

 

Wednesday, May 10, 2023 | HYBRID | WATCH

A Better City was joined in conversation with Ashley Groffenberger, Chief Financial Officer & Collector-Treasurer for the City of Boston, to learn more about Mayor Wu’s proposed operating budget and capital plan for the next fiscal year.

 

Monday, May 1, 2023 | VIRTUAL | WATCH

Lt. Governor Driscoll spoke with A Better City members about the first 100 days of the Healey-Driscoll Administration as well as the next priorities for their team and this legislative session

Wednesday, April 12, 2023 | Hybrid | WATCH |

A Better City's Transportation & Infrastructure Advisory Committee Welcomed Monica Tibbits-Nutt, Undersecretary of Transportation. Monica joined our members to address mobility in the Commonwealth and the Transportation Priorities for the Healey-Driscoll administration.

 

FRIDAY, JULY 22ND, 2022 | WATCH

A research team led by UMass Boston recently released the highly anticipated Greater Boston Research Advisory Group Report (GBRAG) entitled Climate Change Impacts and Projections for the Greater Boston Area, a five-year update to research on likely climate changes in the Boston area. The report’s purpose is to provide the City of Boston and surrounding municipalities with updated information that can be used to inform near-term and long-term strategies to address climate mitigation and resilience. The 2022 report scope was broadened from the first, 2016 BRAG report to include Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) cities and towns.

The report delivers detailed information on projected changes over this century to temperature, storms and precipitation, flooding, sea-level rise, and groundwater in the Greater Boston area. In addition to reaffirming the necessity of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, the report highlights familiar warnings around increased frequency of extreme weather events and coastal flooding, but also spotlights underreported climate risks like decreased groundwater recharge, which has far-reaching consequences for infrastructure, agriculture, the availability of drinking water, and more.

This GRCx program, co-sponsored with A Better City, provided an overview of report findings related to temperature, storms and precipitation, flooding, sea-level rise and groundwater from the lead report authors, Ellen Douglas and Paul Kirshen. A panel discussion with the subject matter experts from each report section (temperature, storms, and precipitation, flooding, sea-level rise and groundwater) followed. 

Speakers:

Ellen Douglas
Associate Dean and Professor of Hydrology
UMass Boston School for the Environment

Paul Kirshen
Professor of Climate Adaptation
UMass Boston School for the Environment 

Mathew Barlow
Professor
UMass Lowell College of Sciences 

Ambarish Karmalkar
Affiliated Investigator and Research Assistant Professor
UMass Amherst College of Natural Sciences

Rob DeConto
Professor and Co-Director
UMass Amherst School of Earth & Sustainability

Jayne Knott
Principal and Senior Scientist
JFK Environmental Services LLC

 

THURSDAY, JULY 21ST | IN PERSON 

East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library, 365 South Bremen Street, Boston, MA 02128

At the Open House folks learned about flooding in East Boston and provided input on green solutions to help address flooding challenges to local public transportation. 

This work is part of a research project conducted by A Better City with Civic Space Collaborative and Weston&Sampson with funding made possible by UMass Boston’s Stone Living Lab.

 

Thursday, February 24, 2022 | RECAP | SLIDESWATCH

On Thursday, February 24th, A Better City welcomed Chris Cook, Executive Director, and Dr. Audrey Lopez, Director and Curator of Public Art of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. In our meeting, we discussed upcoming programming and events that are planned for this spring, as well as how the parks continue to evolve.

Monday, December 6th, 2021 | WATCH

As part of A Better City's Boston Forward Together speaker series, we were pleased to welcome Martha J. Sheridan, President & CEO of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau on Monday, December 6th from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM. In our program, we addressed the 2021 and 2022 visitation and tourism trends, along with convention related economic projections.

Monday, October 25th, 2021 | RECAPWATCH

Using COVID as a catalyst, the City of Boston took advantage of reduced traffic volumes to rethink how our streets – the largest portion of public space in the city – can and should work. Miles of dedicated bicycle and bus lanes were installed, improving the safety and overall efficiency of these modes. Similar improvements in communities throughout the metro-region and across the Commonwealth have accelerated roadway updates and a comprehensive network supporting non-SOV options is taking shape.

A Better City held an insightful discussion on what can happen when we prioritize the movement of people on our roadways over the movement and storage of cars, and what the future might hold when we do.

Panelists included:

Jackie DeWolfe, Director of New Mobility, MassDOT

Marah Holland, Transportation Planner, MAPC

Dominic Tribone, GM East, Lyft Bikes & Scooters, Operator of BlueBikes

 

 

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 9th, 2021 | WATCH

A Better City, the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, and CommonWealth Magazine, held the Building Boston’s Economic Future for Everyone: 2021 Mayoral Forum on Thursday, September 9th. All five of the prominent candidates for Mayor were invited to participate in an in-person forum at Roxbury Community College.

This program focused on major issues related to the economy, equity, and the quality of life challenges facing the City of Boston.

Additional event partners included DenterleinMadison Park Technical Vocational High School, and Silver Lake Productions.

 

THURSDAY, June 10th, 2021 | RECAP |  WATCH

As part of A Better City's Boston Forward Together speaker series, we were pleased to welcome Dr. Ted C. Landsmark, Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and Director of the Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University on Thursday, June 10th. 

 

 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 2, 2021 | SLIDESWATCH 

The City of Boston and many of its partners have worked diligently over the last few years to understand the projected climate impacts and the neighborhoods that will be most affected. Plans have been developed for the neighborhoods identified as most vulnerable to coastal flooding and a study is underway for neighborhoods most vulnerable to extreme heat. Now is the time to move from planning to implementation.

As we welcome the next mayor to the City of Boston in November, the Boston Green Ribbon Commission and A Better City convened a panel to suggest a set of resiliency recommendations for action. 

MAY 6th, 2021 | RECAPWATCH

As part of A Better City's new Boston Forward Together speaker series, we hosted a  special webinar with Josiane Martinez, Founder and CEO of Archipelago Strategies Group.

 

APRIL 15th, 2021 | RECAPWATCH

To launch A Better City's new Boston Forward Together speaker series, we welcomed Paul Grogan, President & CEO of The Boston Foundation and co-author of Comeback Cities: A Blueprint for Urban Revival. 

 

MONDAY, APRIL 5th, 2021 | RECAP | WATCH

On April 5th, 2021, A Better City and A Better City TMA hosted members of the Boston Transportation Department who shared their new TDM Point System. Earlier this year, BTD unveiled a new approach to transportation development review guidelines for new developments over 50,000 sq ft. The new system brings consistent and transparent standards based on a comprehensive scoring regime that recognizes the unique constraints and opportunities of each parcel. We were joined for a conversation with the architects and implementers of this innovative new system:


BTD Director of Planning, Vineet Gupta
BTD Planner, New Mobility Team, Alaa Mukahhal
Ease Consult Principal, Allison Simmons

 

Thursday, March 18, 2021 | RECAPWATCH

As the Commonwealth moves toward reopening, the MBTA Commuter Rail plays a vital role in facilitating the return of workers to the workplace. Keolis, the MBTA’s Commuter Rail operator, is developing a new service model that provides steady service throughout the day and allows for the operational flexibility the system will need to quickly and safely respond to incremental increases in demand. This spring, the Commuter Rail will be piloting so-called “clock-face service” at regular intervals and increased bi-directional travel options on several lines in an attempt to meet and anticipate evolving commuter needs.

A Better City welcomed Keolis General Manager for Commuter Services, David Scorey, to another edition of A Better City Conversations to discuss the planned changes to Commuter Rail service, as well as potential future opportunities.


Thursday, March 11th, 2021 | SLIDES | RECAP | WATCH

A Better City welcomed MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak to discuss the MBTA's efforts to provide service throughout the pandemic and to plan for the return to the workplace. 

 

THURSDAY, January 21st, 2021 | SLIDES |  WATCH 

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) recently launched the Zero Net Carbon Building Zoning Initiative to assess and identify strategies to strengthen Boston's existing green building zoning requirements to a zero net carbon standard for new construction. This will advance practices to meet the City of Boston’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

WEDNESDAY, December 16th, 2020 | SLIDES | WATCH 

In 2020 we saw many municipal and nonprofit leaders implement rapid response placemaking and tactical placemaking projects as a result of the global pandemic. As a result, many business districts were buzzing with people while social distancing and supporting local businesses. To create the tactical placemaking projects there were several key sources of funding to implement these projects including funding from funding directly from municipalities, the Barr Foundation, the Solomon Foundation, MassDOT, MassDev, and crowdfunding. This winter was a great time to pause, reflect, evaluate, and improve on the placemaking and tactical urbanism projects implemented in 2020. 

MONDAY, DECEMBER 14TH, 2020 | WATCH

The City of Boston launched a process to update the Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO) that A Better City has been very engaged in through an Efficient and Resilient Buildings Policy Working Group made up of A Better City and Green Ribbon Commission Commercial Real Estate Working Group members. The City is interested in engaging all covered building owners, managers, tenants, and other parties as part of this process.

In the City's 2019 Climate Action Plan Update they committed to developing a building emissions performance standard. A building emissions performance standard sets carbon targets for existing buildings that decrease over time (You can check out the recording from the public presentation on the standard here). 

 

Thursday, November 5th, 2020 | SLIDES | WATCH

 

In light of current market realities, proactive management of energy spending is a key lever for organizations to reduce costs and limit budget uncertainty. While broader sustainability strategies may be paused right now, options still exist for organizations in the Boston area to support the continued greening of the local grid with little financial risk. Join us for an A Better City Conversations program and discussion with CustomerFirst Renewables to learn more about three opportunities:

• Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) community solar program
• Massachusetts Clean Peak Energy Standard (CPS) with onsite battery storage
• Understanding and eliminating inefficiencies in retail energy supply (electricity and natural gas)

Total annual usage of at least 5,000 MWh / 5M kWh (SMART, retail procurements); monthly peak demand of at least 700-800 kW (CPS). Please also note that SMART and CPS are only available to customers served by Eversource, National Grid, or Unitil. Organizations that are served by a municipal utility or fully self-generate their electricity are ineligible.

 

Friday, October 16th, 2020 | WATCH

The city after COVID-19: How will the pandemic impact the built environment? Will the home office mean the end of city office space? Will less office and retail space mean more residential housing and green spaces? And how can smart technology make a city pandemic resilient, ensure public health in the working and living environment and keep citizens safe in their daily interactions with the city?

Panelists:

  • Rick Dimino, CEO, A Better City - Moderator
  • Jaime Paris Boisvert, General Manager, Siemens Smart Infrastructure
  • Lars Leitner, Senior Vice President, Turner Construction

 

Friday, October 9th, 2020 | 9 AM – 10:15 AM | RECAP

A Better City welcomed members and the general public for an A Better City Conversations: I-90 Allston Project: Riverfront Analysis + Design Exploration with cbt & Perkins&Will. We were joined by panelists Gautam Sundaram, Principal, Urban Design of Perkins&Will, Devanshi Purohit, Senior Associate & Senior Urban Designer, and Kishore Varanasi, Principal, Director of Urban Design of cbt to discuss the I-90 Allston Project.

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 6TH, 2020 | 9 AM - 12 PM | STATE STREET 

Massachusetts has potential to lead the nation in offshore wind. But what would that mean for our economy and our businesses?

At this meeting, we heard from business, government, and industry experts about how offshore wind could:

  • Impact commercial energy costs
  • Promote local energy service jobs
  • Foster a new, vibrant industry in our business community
  • Establish Massachusetts as the launch pad for the entire East Coast
  • Expand opportunities for local corporate renewable energy procurement
  • Minimize corporate environmental footprints
  • Enable setting and achieving ambitious corporate sustainability goals

 

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2019 | 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

THE FORT POINT ROOM | 290 CONGRESS ST #200

At this meeting, attendees learned about recent tactical public realm projects that have moved from design to implementation in 2019. In September 2018, the City of Boston released the “Tactical Public Realm Guidelines,” which have been instrumental for creating new spaces across the city. A Better City hosted a panel of experts who have worked on public realm projects, including a pedestrian plaza on Birch Street in Roslindale, parklet in Jamaica Plain, and one-day pop-up plazas across the city. There were breakout groups that discussed project specifics, including permitting, project costs, funding, timelines, community input, and materials.

Panel, presentations, and keynotes included: 

Event Presentation Video

Event Keynote Video

 

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2019 | 12:00PM - 2:00PM | WILMERHALE

As a follow-up to a panel discussion held by A Better City in November 2015, this event brought together some of the Boston area’s key infrastructure providers to discuss progress made in climate-resilient planning, design, and implementation—and the work that still lies ahead.

 

The panel aimed to explore strategies for supporting coordinated, regional efforts to improve resiliency in the face of growing climate impacts. 

 

Dr. Valerie Roberson, President of Roxbury Community College, kicked off the event and delivered introductory remarks.

Kate Dineen, Executive Vice President of A Better City, moderated the panel, which included:

Event Video

Event Presentation Slides

 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 8, 2019 | 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

A BETTER CITY 33 BROAD ST, SUITE 300 BOSTON, MA 02109

Climate Ready Boston is the Mayor’s ongoing initiative to get the City ready for the long-term impacts of climate change. At the event, we heard about the proposed resilience planning options for Boston’s Downtown and North End. Alisha Pegan, Climate Ready Boston Coordinator, and Joe Christo, Senior Resilience and Waterfront Planner, Boston Planning & Development Agency, discussed the options for the neighborhoods that include the West End and North End, the Financial District, Wharf District, Chinatown, and the Leather District. Downtown is highly exposed to sea-level rise impacts due to the area's extensive low-lying coastline, and exposure to flooding from the Charles River, Boston Harbor, and Fort Point Channel. This event provided a great opportunity for business leaders to provide input during the planning phase! 

Event presentation slides

Read the event recap here

 

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2019 | 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

BSA SPACE | PEARL STREET ROOM | 290 CONGRESS STREET | BOSTON, MA

A Better City hosted a Discussion Panel Event: Powering the Future: Electrifying and Expanding the MBTA Bus Network on Wednesday, August 7th from 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM at the BSA Space located inside Atlantic Wharf. This event was held in tandem with the release of the new report produced by A Better City titled: New MBTA Bus Maintenance Facilities & Evolving Battery Electric Bus Technology. A series of short presentations were made on topics related to the need for bus maintenance modernization and the challenges and opportunities of moving towards an electric bus fleet, followed by a moderated panel discussion.

E-Bus Barriers & Enablers presented by Camron Gorguinpour, PhD., Senior Global Manager, Electric Vehicles, World Resources Institute

MBTA Bus Facility Modernization Program and Bus Fleet Update/Plans presented by Erik Stoothoff, Chief Engineer, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and William Wolfgang, Director, Vehicle Engineering, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

The Climate Emergency and Bus Electrification presented by Michael Kodransky, U.S. Director, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, New York, NY

Why MBTA Should Recharge its Fleet Electrification Efforts presented by Veena Dharmaraj, Conservation and Development Program Manager, Sierra Club, Massachusetts Chapter, Boston, MA

New MBTA Bus Maintenance Facilities & Evolving Battery Electric Bus Technology presented by Glen Berkowitz, Project Manager, A Better City and Marc DeSchamp, Project Manager, Transit and Rail, Bus Practice Lead, Jacobs

Event Video 

Read the report

 


With the rapid progression of internet communications technology, the transportation landscape in Metro Boston has shifted dramatically to incorporate real-time information sharing into digital mobility platforms. From ride-hailing to bike sharing, it's sometimes hard to keep up with new developments in the personal mobility sector. One mode that has yet to experience this high tech influence is old-fashioned carpooling between peers-until now. On March 21, A Better City TMA and Allston Brighton TMA co-sponsored a panel where we heard from rising leaders in this space at Waze Carpool, rideamigos and Scoop about how their platforms are rethinking carpooling and what it could mean for our city. Special thanks to the Broad Institute for hosting the event. 

 

On the morning of March 6th, the A Better City Transportation Advisory Committee invited members to attend an intimate conversation with Steve Kadish, Chair of Governor Baker’s Commission on the Future of Transportation. In the presentation, Chairman Kadish broke down the commission's 5 major categories with a total of 18 recommendations. Kathryn Carlson and Tom Ryan of A Better City discussed the Update on Transporation Finance working document, notable coverage and how A Better City’s transportation efforts can advance and implement report goals into action. You can view the presentation here and read the entire recap here

On February 12, A Better City hosted a meeting about the findings from the recently released Carbon Free Boston report, and the next steps the City is planning to build on these findings. The Boston Green Ribbon Commission was asked by Mayor Marty Walsh to undertake this report. They selected the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Boston University to conduct the deep research, modeling, and analysis of the buildings, electric power, transportation, and waste sectors to understand their greenhouse gas emission contributions and potential pathways to reach the City’s carbon neutrality goal by 2050. Read the event recap here and view the slides here

 

On November 14th, A Better City welcomed global transit experts to discuss lessons learned in reimagining and rebuilding regional rail systems as part of the Partners in Public Dialogue series at the Old South Meeting House. Read the entire event recap here and review the slides here

 

On Tuesday, April 17, a full house of commercial facility owners and managers, and energy storage experts and vendors joined A Better City, Boston Green Ribbon Commission, and Sustainable Buildings Initiative members and partners at Wilmer Hale for a panel event and the launch of A Better City's new report, Harnessing the Power of Energy Storage in Boston's Commercial Buildings.  

Attendees heard from expert speakers on two panels. The first panel explored current Massachusetts policies, incentives, and the economics for energy storage systems in Boston.  

Panelists

  • Jamie Dickerson, Policy Analyst at NECEC (moderator)
  • Kavita Ravi, Director of Emerging Markets, MassCEC
  • Jason Burwen, Vice President, Policy, Energy Storage Association
  • Todd Olinsky-Paul, Project Director, Clean Energy Group

The second panel highlighted examples of cutting-edge projects recently implemented in the Boston area that utilize financing models ranging from direct ownership to shared savings agreements. 

Panelists

  • Mike Kelinberg, Head of Section-Distributed Energy Resources/Storage, DNV GL (moderator)
  • Steve Tuleja, President, Alternative Power Source Inc.
  • Bob Gohn, Director, Product Management, NEC Energy Solutions, Inc.
  • Dave Herbert, Director, EnerNOC Inc., an Enel Group Company

Panelists shared key storage use cases for commercial buildings, including demand management, grid services, and emergency power for resiliency. They underscored that energy storage provides commercial building owners with flexibility to deliver power where and when it is needed at a given time. One of the key takeaways from the discussions is that energy storage has reached a tipping point where many commercial building owners in Boston can realize cost effective paybacks on installations by taking advantage of current incentives and available technologies. Increased deployment of energy storage, particularly when paired with renewable energy, will also help the City of Boston reach its ambitious carbon reduction goals.

EVENT MATERIALS

Panel Summary

Event Presentation

 

 

A Better City’s Sustainable Buildings Initiative and the Green Ribbon Commission’s Commercial Real Estate Working Group, managed by A Better City, hosted a panel discussion and building tour exploring the role of net zero energy and net zero emissions buildings in meeting the mayor’s commitment to make Boston carbon neutral by 2050.

Facilitator

  • John Dalzell, Senior Architect, Boston Planning and Development Agency

Panelists

  • Seth Federspiel, a Net Zero Energy Planner, City of Cambridge
  • Jill Kaehler, a Project Leader and Lead Designer, Behnisch Architekten
  • Jacob Knowles, Director of Sustainable Design, BR+A Consulting Engineers

Opening and Closing Remarks

  • Bob Biggio, Senior Vice President for Facilities and Support Services, Boston Medical Center
  • Amy Longsworth, Director, Boston Green Ribbon Commission
event materials

Panel Summary

Event Presentations

 

A Better City is managing the development of conceptual design proposal for retrofitting Phillips Square (Chinatown). For these efforts, we partnered with the Boston Transportation Department and Boston Planning and Design Agency, and hired Stantec to provide design consulting services. In March and May, the project team convened two design charrettes with the local community, including members of the project’s advisory group, made up of leaders from Chinatown-based community organizations. The City of Boston plans to implement a semi-permanent version of the finalized conceptual design proposal in summer of 2017. This pilot will help us test the conceptual urban design this summer and evaluate its success before committing to a permanent transformation of the site. The next design charrette will take place the second week of June 2017. 

EVENT MATERIALS

Photos

 

Massachusetts has a wealth of knowledge in the placemaking work, but it is often undermined by the lack of communication and collaboration among those regulating, financing, and implementing placemaking projects. The Routes to Placemaking Workshop aimed to bridge these gaps by convening experts and providing a temporary platform for peer-to-peer learning. Consisting of a networking session, short presentations, and breakout discussions, the Routes to Placemaking Workshop focused on unpacking a selection of placemaking strategies typically employed to improve community spaces.

EVENT MATERIALS

Workshop Agenda

Workshop Summary

 

This event reviewed the A Better City-facilitated Joint Solar Power Purchase Agreement--the largest renewable-energy project ever to be constructed in the U.S. through an alliance of diverse buyers

Facilitators

  • Gary Farha, President & CEO, CustomerFirst Renewables
  • Miriam Posner, Director of Energy & Environmental Policy, A Better City

Panelists

  • Ken Alston, Special Advisor to the Secretary for Finance, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Emil Avram, Director of Business Development, Dominion Resources
  • Bob Biggio, Vice President Facilities & Support Services, Boston Medical Center
  • Terence de Pentheny O'Kelly, Engagement Manager, CustomerFirst Renewables
  • Joe Higgins, Director of Infrastructure Business Operations, MIT
  • Amy Longsworth, Director, Boston Green Ribbon Commission
  • Pam Messenger, General Manager, Friends of Post Office Square
  • Frank O'Sullivan, Director of Research, MIT Energy Initiative

Remarks

  • Alan Leventhal, Chairman & CEO, Beacon Capital Partners
  • Tony Sharon, Deputy Executive Vice President, MIT 
  • Maria Zuber, Vice President for Research, MIT 

 

Placemaking is a people-centered approach to the planning and design of public space. During this discussion the inner mechanics of placemaking and ways to position Boston as a national leader in this field of work were explored. 

Facilitator

  • Kenneth Bailey, Sector Organizing and Strategy Lead, Design Studio for Social Intervention

Panelists

  • Alice Brown, Project Manager for Go Boston 2030, Boston Transportation Department
  • David Dixon FAIA, Senior Principal, Stantec
  • Bryan Koop, Executive Vice President for Boston Region, Boston Properties
  • Claudia Paraschiv, Director, Salem Public Space Project
  • Anabelle Rondon, Project Manager, Great Neighborhoods initiative, Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance

 

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A Better City and the Green Ribbon Commission hosted a solutions-oriented Symposium and Expo on climate preparedness. The Symposium marked a shift from planning to action in the citywide Climate Ready Boston initiative and focused on technologies, policies and actions to prepare the City’s buildings, businesses and districts for the future.

The Symposium:

  • Informed the business community about the Climate Ready Boston climate projections and vulnerability assessment results for Greater Boston
  • Introduced a series of site- and district-level resiliency technologies applicable to Boston’s commercial real estate sector and built environment community through a panel and vendor expo
  • Hosted a panel session on steps to enable the implementation of solutions to projected climate challenges

Symposium Summary

Symposium Packet

Symposium Presentations

 

SBE Conference

TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 2016 
HOSTED BY SEAPORT BOSTON HOTEL & WORLD TRADE CENTER

  • What infrastructure projects are needed to support our future economy and high quality of life?  
  • How do we ensure land use and zoning strategies will enhance live, work, and play while minimizing impact and providing for conservation? 
  • What combined efforts can be developed to reduce emissions and address the resiliency of the built environment?

Over 250 policymakers, experts and other stakeholders gathered at the State of the Built Environment conference on June 7th to debate these issues and many others facing the Greater Boston region. The sessions were anchored by A Better City's key focus areas and the first State of the Built Environment report was released at the event. 

Conference speakers included city and state agency leaders who are responsible for the management and development of our region's infrastructure, and the keynote address was given by Senate President Stan Rosenberg. 

Conference Summary

Conference Packet

Panel Event: Protecting Critical Infrastructure

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2015 
HOSTED BY SEAPORT BOSTON HOTEL & WORLD TRADE CENTER

Severe weather events, a changing climate, and rising sea levels present a direct threat to our region's infrastructure and economic prosperity. We heard from experts who have begun the important task of identifying these risks and developing strategies for investment in resilient infrastructure.

Facilitator:

  •  Sandra Lally, US Regional Director of Operations for Oxford Properties Group

Panelists:

  • Frank DePaola, General Manager for the MBTA, MassDOT
  • Thomas Glynn, CEO, Massport
  • Fred Laskey, Executive Director, MWRA
  • Paul Renard, Vice President of Engineering, Eversource

View Frank DePaola's Presentation from MassDOT.
View Tom Glynn's Presentation from Massport.
View Fred Laskey's Presentation from MWRA.
View Paul Renaud's Presentation from Eversource.

Transit and Economic Imperatives for the Region

 

Thursday, June 18, 2015
Hosted by WilmerHale, 60 State Street, Boston MA 02109

In June 2015, A Better City held a panel event that shared perspectives from economists, business leaders and legislators on the importance of public transportation in relation to the region's economy. The event was kicked off by ABC Chairman Mike Cantalupa of Boston Properties and the discussion was facilitated by Doug McGarrah of Foley Hoag.

Panelists:

  • Michael Goodman, Executive Director of the Public Policy Center at UMass Dartmouth
  • Toni Horst, Senior Consulting Manager, AECOM
  • Bryan Koop, Senior Vice President and Regional Manager, Boston Properties
  • Rick Dimino, President and CEO of A Better City

Legislative Perspective:

  • Senator Thomas McGee, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation
  • Representative William Straus, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation

View Michael Goodman's Panel Presentation from UMass Dartmouth.
View Toni Horst's Panel Presentation from AECOM.

Gubernatorial Candidates Forum: May & June 2014

2014 gov panel

A Better City, along with the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership and Commonwealth Magazine, hosted the 2014 Democratic and the Republican candidates for Governor in a two part series “Blueprint for the Bay State.”

The moderator for these events was R.D. Sahl, Senior Advisor at Denterlein, and questions were posed by Rick Dimino, President & CEO, A Better City, Daniel O'Connell, President & CEO, Massachusetts Competitive Partnership and Bruce Mohl, Editor, CommonWealth Magazine.

Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates Forum
Tuesday May 20, 2014
District Hall 75 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

The Democratic forum featured candidates Joe Avellone, Don Berwick, Steve Grossman and Juliette Kayyem.

Republican Gubernatorial Candidates Forum
Monday June 2, 2014
District Hall 75 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

The Republican forum featured candidates Charlie Baker and Mark Fisher.

View article coverage of the Republican Gubernatorial Candidates Forum.

View article

Camron Gorguinpour, PhD., Senior Global Manager, Electric Vehicles,

World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.