UMass Boston

BPDA Announces $100k in Funding for UPCD/SSL Summer Program for Roxbury Youth

06/07/2023| Office of Communications

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) has announced it will be funding the Department of Urban Planning and Community Development's (UPCD) Summer Program in Urban Planning for 2023. The award of $100,000 will support UPCD’s innovative program, which introduces youth of color to the critical role community planners and designers play in addressing the impacts of climate change.

Two students work with a map.

“ Having the partnership and support of the BPDA and the City of Boston makes it possible to grow and develop it even more. ”

This summer program is part of a city-wide project (2023 Expanding Boston’s Pipeline for Youth of Color in Urban Planning) launched by the BPDA, Boston Public Schools, UMass Boston (UPCD, Sustainable Solutions Lab), and Boston Architectural College aimed at increasing the percentage of non-white planners in Boston from 5% to 25% during the next twenty years.

“We are extremely excited to be awarded a second year of funding for this program,” said Kenneth Reardon, director of UPCD and lead organizer of the Summer Program in Urban Planning. “This program is very impactful, and having the partnership and support of the BPDA and the City of Boston makes it possible to grow and develop it even more.”

Summer program poses for a photo by a Mel King mural

This year, the Sustainable Solutions Lab will be supporting and co-hosting the program to better expand and institutionalize it. During the summer, students participate in resident-led change efforts by carrying out a field-based research project focused on the growing challenge of extreme heat faced by residents of Lower Roxbury. Last year, 16 Roxbury youth participated in this effort, which will grow to a total of 40 freshmen and sophomores for this year. Students are recruited from the Madison Park, Dearborn STEM Academy, Tech Boston, and BCLA High Schools.

“The youth’s work last year made a real positive impact in Lower Roxbury and has the power to influence city plans for parks and public spaces. We hope to build on that success this year,” said Reardon.

Students participating in last year's Summer Program were awarded the 2022 Best Student Project Award by the MA Chapter of the American Planning Association for their "Cool Roxbury Report." A copy of this report can be found on UPCD's Paul Davidoff Tapes Website.