In his January 2010 inaugural address to begin his administration’s fifth term, Mayor Menino called upon his Cabinet and the citizens of Boston alike to help bring about a new era of shared innovation for the City, one that is not only informed by the successes of the past but adapts in new ways to meet today’s challenges and position the City for future growth. At the core of the Mayor’s fifth term agenda are initiatives to transform public education to create quality learning opportunities for all of our youth, reinvigorate underdeveloped areas of the City to establish a sustainable and shared innovation economy, capitalize on Boston’s entrepreneurial spirit to produce a new wave of municipal innovation, and bring the City closer together across diverse backgrounds.
Comprehensive Youth Development
Providing a quality education, both in and out of the classroom, for all of our youth is one of the most pressing responsibilities of the City. This focus on youth development has long been at the core of the Boston Public Schools, and Mayor Menino aims to reinforce these efforts by raising the priority in other departments, such as Boston Centers for Youth & Families and the Boston Public Health Commission. This comprehensive approach extends the Community Learning strategy by investing in turning around underperforming schools, providing enriching out-of-school opportunities for youth, and breaking the cycle of poverty in our most vulnerable communities. To nurture our youth so they achieve their full potential, this strategy hinges upon providing services for the whole child, whole family, and whole community.
To underscore this new approach, Mayor Menino and Boston Public Schools Superintendent Carol R. Johnson launched the “Circle of Promise” initiative in February 2010. This place-based strategy targets some of the most disadvantaged communities in the heart of Boston for specific academic interventions, as well as strategies to improve service delivery in order to remove barriers to academic success and enrich the lives of children and families to break the cycle of poverty and inequality.
A Sustainable and Shared Innovation Economy
Boston has a history of prosperity, under both challenging and thriving economic conditions. In order to capitalize on growth industries and develop the workforce to sustain these industries, Mayor Menino is placing a renewed focus on developing the South Boston Waterfront and Marine Industrial Park as platforms for job creation. Situated in this area of the City, the Innovation District will combine all the right ingredients clustered in one central location to attract knowledge industry businesses and create jobs in fast growing sectors. New models of office space, housing, and culture will create value for the employers that locate there and enhance the ability of the employees who live and work nearby to develop groundbreaking research, technologies, and services. To bolster the Innovation District in its infancy, city agencies will collaborate to facilitate early proof projects in the area.
Having put Boston at the forefront of sustainable growth with a first-of-its-kind municipal green-building code, Mayor Menino is directing city agencies to take the next step by pursuing new permitting measures to facilitate development of the green economy and the urban food economy. Boston will be one of the first cities in the nation with new solar and agricultural permitting policies that build on its green-building standards. The policies will enhance small business growth in these areas as well as provide cost savings for residents and companies who refurbish, build, and grow green.
Because small businesses are a key driver of local economic vitality, the Mayor is also placing new emphasis, through innovative partnerships and streamlined City resources, on investments that make starting and growing a business in Boston as easy as possible for entrepreneurs.
Beyond the Walls and into the Neighborhoods
To strengthen the City’s personal connection with the people of Boston and produce new efficiencies in basic city service delivery, Mayor Menino has charged departments with transforming the way they do business. Creating a 21st century gateway to information in the Boston Public Library, proactive engagement through the Mayor’s 24-hour constituent engagement call center, greater working relationships between police officers and the community members they protect, and grassroots, parent-to-parent outreach through a newly created BPS Ambassador program are just a few examples of this administration’s renewed promise to the neighborhoods.
Calling the citizens of Boston the greatest source of data and the best civic entrepreneurs, Mayor Menino issued an open call to foundations, entrepreneurs, technologists, and neighbors to help make Boston the hub of municipal innovation through an approach called New Urban Mechanics. “It’s time to build on our early experiments, deliver on projects we’ve dreamed up, and make Boston a proving ground for dozens of novel solutions,” declared the Mayor during his fifth term inaugural address. To institutionalize this innovative spirit in City operations, the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics will experiment with tools that deliver traditional services as efficiently as possible and harness civic interest.
A Shared Experience for a Diverse Boston
Noting the progress that Boston has made in overcoming the divisions of the past, while realizing the distance yet to go, Mayor Menino has recommitted his administration to bringing the City’s diverse constituencies even closer together. Our diversity, a characteristic that gives Boston unique strength, should serve to create a deep sense of shared experience. The Mayor made it clear in his most recent inaugural that this vision should underpin the work of the entire administration:
“When I made my first inaugural address, I promised to help bring about a century of inclusiveness in government. We’ve made much progress, but we must recommit ourselves to that ambition. Complacency is no excuse for leaving people out, but our aims should be even higher, so that this new decade is about opening doors, but also walking through them in each other’s shoes…This is just the kind of project we should engage in together, and so I start by inviting your proposals.
“Even as we transform our schools, deliver on the promise of our waterfront, and make over our city services, let us make sure this progress is shared among our people in the deepest sense of the word.”
*Please note that this page is a broad overview, not an exhaustive inventory, of recent and evolving priorities for Mayor Menino’s administration.