Don’t wait 50 years for another ‘Imagine Boston’
Dear Mayor Walsh (“A new vision for Boston,” Opinion, July 13): Your Imagine Boston 2030 plan covers much ground. Long overdue and direly needed, the contributions of your administration and 15,000 residents’ input are demonstrative of thoughtful community planning. However, there should be great skepticism about Boston’s ability to execute the plan as imagined, for one looming reason: math.
Imagine Boston conservatively forecasts 724,000 Boston residents in 2030. But analysis of the latest census data estimates there were 673,184 in 2016, up from 617,680 in 2010 — an average growth of 9,251 people per year. Given the historic rates of urban development, college graduate retention, and employment growth experienced since 2010, the 2016 estimate seems plausible. If approved development citywide continues as forecast, that growth rate will likely maintain — perhaps even increase — which means Boston may reach 724,000 before 2022, and 801,000 by 2030.
On behalf of all Bostonians, I caution your administration to monitor closely these historic demographic trends. Your successes encouraging progressive growth citywide will be short-lived if city leaders fail to update this comprehensive plan regularly. In essence, revisit Imagine Boston within five years — not 50. Like you said, “Plans matter.”