Boston – Mayor Michelle Wu announced new appointments and leadership to the Boston Civic Design Commission (BCDC) to bring diverse new voices and perspectives to shape design outcomes in the city.
These appointments are another step toward the mayor’s vision of ensuring that design and development resources are focused on resilience, affordability, and equity. The changes to the commission are designed to ensure that the BCDC’s feedback during its review of projects continues to represent the best and most current design thinking in the city.
“I’m grateful to this group of leaders for agreeing to serve on the Civic Design Commission,” said Wu. “It’s critical that the commission represent new and leading voices in the design and architecture spaces. These new members will provide diverse perspectives that will help shape Boston’s growth in a way that will ensure both residents and visitors experience Boston as a city for everyone.”
The individuals announced represent expertise in national resilience, as well as expertise in the local public realm and the arts. BCDC review is also a requirement of the Article 80 process, which is currently being revised to make the process more predictable and streamlined. The BCDC will continue to play an advisory role to the Urban Design and Planning staff of the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA), which will eventually transition to a new City Planning and Design Department.
The changes announced include appointing Mimi Love as chair and Linda Eastley as vice chair. Three commissioners will cycle off the commission and three new commissioners will join ten existing commissioners who will continue to serve. New appointments include Laura Solano, Shauna Gillies Smith, and Catherine Morris.
Love has served as a commissioner since 2020. She is currently a principal at Utile Architecture & Planning, with expertise ranging from complicated renovation projects to campus master plans.
Eastley has served as a commissioner since 2009. She is a founding principal and managing partner at Eastley + Partners, LLC with 25 years of experience in campus planning and large-scale urban design.
Solano is a principal and registered landscape architect at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA), where she has worked since 1991. She is currently a board member for the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF).
Gillies-Smith is the founding principal of GROUND and oversees the design direction of all the firm’s projects. Currently, she is a trustee of the Boston Architectural College and sits on the advisory board of the Design Industry Group of Massachusetts.
Morris is the director of arts and culture at the Boston Foundation and executive director of Boston Art & Music Soul (BAMS) Fest. Morris has spent her career supporting BIPOC artists by producing shows, creating platforms, and mobilizing and engaging local audiences to experience the arts from a Black perspective.
The three new appointees and two existing commissioners who will take over leadership positions will be instated for the April BCDC monthly meeting. The April BCDC meeting will be the first monthly meeting for the new group of commissioners and leaders.
On Feb.13, the BPDA hosted a celebration to acknowledge the service and leadership of the three outgoing commissioners and thanked them for their meaningful contribution to design excellence in Boston.