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Designing Boston: Parochialism vs. Production

In partnership with:
With support from: Lowell Institute
Date and time
Monday, January 30, 2017

How can market-rate housing be built that meets the needs of real Bostonians? Without abandoning the small, historic scale of Boston neighborhoods, how can new housing projects both optimize construction costs and meet unit goals for a growing population? In this session of the Designing Boston series, the panel will talk with Boston City Councilors about housing creation. This conversation will unpack enduring issues: tensions between policymakers and community members, challenges posed by codes, and also highlights from successful examples of housing creation.

With the experience Mike Ross gained solving complex problems and bringing disparate parties together as a legislator, he now brings to his practice as an attorney where he focuses on real estate, strategic advice, and government relations. Mike served for 14 years as a Boston City Councilor, as well as serving as the President of the body. In 2013 he entered the race for mayor, sharing a bold vision for the city’s future. As an elected official he championed the opening of elementary schools in underserved neighborhoods and recently celebrated the announcement of the opening of a new downtown school - the first since the Carter administration. He brought physical education to area schools and focused on creating innovative job training models. His efforts revitalize the Boston Common and launch Food Trucks by borrowing ideas from other cities, have helped to move Boston forward. Ross represented District 8 on the Boston City Council, including Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, and Mission Hill and some of Boston's greatest institutions and landmarks: Fenway Park, the Longwood Medical Area and Massachusetts General Hospital, the Museum of Fine Arts and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and a number of our city's finest academic institutions. World-renowned public spaces like the Boston Common, the Public Garden, the Esplanade, and Frederick Law Olmstead's historic Emerald Necklace are also in the district. Ross spearheaded the effort to turn the Boston Common into America's greatest park. As Chair of the Special Committee on Boston Common, Mike led the effort to bring more activity to the Boston Common, through improved programming efforts, as well as creating a restaurant and other eateries like the ones in a number of New York City's parks to draw tourists and residents alike to the Common. Mike has a long history of utilizing technology to make city government more accessible for residents. Prior to his election to the Council, Mike was part of a team that developed Boston's first Website. The site received the "Best of the Web" award for municipalities by Government Technology Magazine. As Councilor, Mike wrote for Boston magazine's blog, Boston Daily, as well as contributing to Blue Mass Group. He believes that there is a strong role that technology and the internet can play in making government better, more open, and more accessible.
Tito Jackson is a lifelong resident of Roxbury’s Grove Hall neighborhood and is the son of Herb and Rosa Jackson, two beloved community activists. As the District 7 City Councillor, he currently represents all of Roxbury and parts of the South End, Dorchester and Fenway neighborhoods. First elected to the Boston City Council in March of 2011 during a special election, voters re-elected Councilor Jackson the following November for a full two-year term. In November of 2013 75% of the electorate once again called upon Councilor Jackson to serve the people of District 7 and represent them in City Hall. Councilor Jackson currently serves as Chairman of the Boston City Council’s Committee on Education, and is Vice Chairman of the Committee on Government Operations. He also serves on the Economic Development & Planning & Labor Committee, the Special Committee on Small Business, Entrepreneurship & Innovation and the Special Committee on Transportation, Public Infrastructure, Planning and Investment. Prior to his election to the Boston City Council, Councilor Jackson spent more than 10 years as a sales and marketing professional, during which he won numerous awards and honors. Through that experience, the Councilor developed extensive knowledge of the healthcare, technology and government sectors.
Frank Baker was elected to the Boston City Council on November 8, 2011. Due to the redistricting process that took place in 2013, his new district now includes most of Dorchester and portions of Roxbury, South Boston, and the South End. Councilor Baker is proud to be a lifelong resident of Dorchester. He grew up in the Saint Margaret's Parish (now Blessed Mother Teresa) area of Dorchester and currently owns a home in Savin Hill with his wife and their 10-year-old twins, Ben and Maxine. Frank is the twelfth child of John and Eileen Baker's thirteen children. He graduated from Don Bosco Technical High School in 1986 where he studied the printing trade. At age 17 Frank worked as a custodian in City Hall, and from 1987 until 2010, he worked for the City of Boston Printing Department, before it was dismantled. Currently, Councilor Baker is a member of the CWA/Boston Typographical Union, Local 13 and served as a Shop Steward from 2000 until 2010. Councilor Baker has been actively involved in politics his entire adult life and is a dedicated member of the Dorchester community. Frank brings his passion for his community and a strong independent voice to City Hall. His priorities include Education, Public Safety, Substance Abuse Services, Housing, and Economic Development.
Bill Linehan is a life-long resident of South Boston elected to the Boston City Council in May 2007 and re-elected four times. After being re-elected last term Bill was elected President of the Council by his colleagues on the Council. He has served as the chairman of the City of Boston Economic and Planning Committee and served as the Chairman of the Redistricting Committee. Bill formed and chaired the Special Committee for the 2024 Olympics. For the past twenty years, Bill has been working to improve the quality of life for Boston residents. Prior to his election, Bill had served as the Director of Operations for the City of Boston’s Parks Department and after that as the Special Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer of the City of Boston. The oldest of eight children, Bill has been active in politics since his teenage years and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Boston. He and his wife Judy have four children and six grandchildren.