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In the news: Aimee Chambers

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In the news: Aimee Chambers
Aimee Chambers COURTESY PHOTO

Chief of Planning Arthur Jemison has announced the hiring of Aimee Chambers, AICP as the city of Boston’s new director of planning. Her professional experience includes a wide range of planning and urban design work from affordable housing development to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure design. The planning team led by Chambers, which is currently housed at the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA), will move to a new City Planning & Design Department, which was announced by Mayor Michelle Wu in her 2023 State of the City address, to restore planning as a core function of city government. As the City Planning & Design Department is being formed to drive the city’s planning function, the BPDA will continue to build out a strong planning team to deliver on the mayor’s vision for resilient, affordable, equitable growth.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Aimee to our leadership team, where she will serve a critical role helping us create a more resilient, affordable and equitable future for Boston,” Jemison said. “Aimee’s experience in other municipalities will bring new perspectives and momentum for delivering our bold vision for the city.”

Chambers will be responsible for implementing the mayor’s vision for citywide land-use planning strategies and action plans that shape equitable long-term growth. This vision includes a citywide plan to rezone and enhance squares and corridors, creating the opportunity for thousands of new housing units and neighborhood small businesses, retail and jobs. It also includes completing neighborhood plans, bringing them to zoning, and building out the zoning team to evaluate and modernize the zoning code.

As director of planning, Chambers will also work closely with Diana Fernandez, deputy chief of urban design, to ensure a seamless integration of planning and urban design policies to shape the built environment of the city. Another goal of this planning work is to make the development process more predictable for community members and developers, and to reduce the number of proposals that require relief from the Zoning Board of Appeal.

Chambers has worked across the nonprofit and public sectors for 12 years as a planner and project manager and, prior to that, as a foster-care case manager. She most recently served as the director of planning for the city of Hartford, Connecticut, where she led planning and zoning for the city. Chambers also has experience in climate-change-related disaster resiliency, working for the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance as a contractor for the State of Louisiana Office of Community Development’s Disaster Recovery Unit. In each of the communities that she has served, Chambers has centered her work on the implementation of programs that engage with and advocate for residents and has worked to amplify the voices of people of color and underserved populations.

Chambers is a 2019 Next City Vanguard and was nominated in CT Magazine’s “40 Under 40,” class of 2022. She graduated from Manhattan College with a degree in sociology and urban studies. Her master’s degree in community planning is from the University of Maryland-College Park.