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.  


  • 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. 


  • 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.


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.


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


  • 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. 




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.


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


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


  • 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


  • 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. 


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


  • 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 

  • 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


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.


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


  • 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.


  • 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.