Because the next mayor will inherit a city whose population is only one-seventh of its metropolitan area and whose future will be largely determined by regionwide forces, the new administration’s efforts to expand Boston’s economy cannot end at the city limits. The most ambitious plans for strong metropolitan government are either unwise or implausible here, but there are concrete steps the next mayor can take.
Mayoral candidate Martin Walsh has noted the need to collaborate with nearby cities and towns on initiatives such as the Hubway bike-sharing program. More broadly, rival John Connolly has noted the need to “collaborate with regional partners on trade, tourism, and economic development.” Connolly’s proposal doesn’t go far enough. Instead of creating a trade and tourism office that would “work closely with other cities and towns in the Boston area,” the next mayor should embrace a multi-city agency tasked with attracting businesses to any of the region’s cities.