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Boston to Require Developers to Disclose Diversity of Project Teams

The city of Boston is set to require certain developers to disclose the diversity figures of their project managers and investors, becoming the first-ever city in the U.S. to make this kind of requirement. The policy, which was approved this week by the Boston Planning & Development Agency, will apply to projects over 20,000 square feet that require city approval to move forward. City officials said asking developers to disclose their diversity and inclusion commitments will hopefully push more firms to increase diversity in their ranks.

Applicants in Boston filing plans for development projects that exceed 20,000 square feet will need to submit their plans to include “economic participation, employment, and management roles for people of color, women, and certified Minority and Women Owned (M/WBE) Businesses within the scope of their project,” according to the city of Boston. The city would then use the data collected to understand the disparities in the real estate market and strategize how to increase more diversity over time. The policy also builds on the agency’s rule requiring bidders of public land parcels to outline a DEI plan. “This new policy is about ensuring success is spread across our communities, while incentivizing sustainable growth and creating more transparent processes,” said Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.

The move comes just a week after Mayor Wu announced a push to better enforce a decades-old rule requiring developers of large projects to invest in childcare within their developments. The city’s zoning code has several provisions that require certain projects to include childcare facilities within a development or invest in the creation of off-site childcare programs, but the rules had not been very strongly enforced. However, Wu signed an executive order to make the zoning requirements “more transparent and predictable.” The city has struggled with a lack of available childcare, something that was exacerbated by the pandemic, according to the executive order. Between 2017 and 2021, the number of childcare providers fell 21 percent.

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