We knew the new BRA logo reminded us of something
You may have seen an article or TV news snippet this week about how the Boston Redevelopment Authority re-branded itself as the Boston Planning and Development Agency. Don’t be fooled just because city officials are counting on it.
This name-changing charade is insulting, and only possible because so many residents either don’t know—or don’t give a damn—about how Boston is the last major metropolis in America with an urban renewal agency. This means that the city, through the BRA, has the extreme power to bypass standard protocol and dodge public scrutiny in making significant calls about, you guessed it, planning and development. For proof of why the agency is incapable of making important decisions, just consider that the BRA board itself approved the $670,000 expenditure for hiring the marketing wizards who cooked up the name Boston Planning and Development Agency.
The BRA and the administration of Mayor Marty Walsh would likely dispute this characterization of a nefarious enterprise, which shields the rich and powerful from scrutiny, as would the rich and powerful themselves—contractors, developers, and property owners, all of whom are handcuffed to the BRA matrix. But while they may argue that the moniker tweak is part of a larger reform effort to “re-envision the agency’s identity,” the only thing that really matters is that their entire campaign is nothing more than a hoodwink, and that they expect us to buy it.
CHRIS FARAONE, NEWS + FEATURES EDITOR
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.