Construction Development in Boston is booming and Massport plans on diversity playing a central role.
Melvin B. Miller | 3/12/2015, 1:49 p.m.
The former congressman for part of Roxbury, the late Joe Moakley, is reported to have said that his favorite bird is the crane. That was an allusion to the huge construction cranes that soar into the sky during a building boom. With so much construction underway, Boston has become a mechanical aviary. Unfortunately, African Americans and other citizens categorized as minorities are not scheduled to have a major role in the boom, but Massport has another idea.
Massport, the state agency that controls the airports and the docks, plans to end that ethnic alienation. Tom Glynn, Massport’s CEO, profoundly believes that public agencies have an obligation to involve all members of the community in development projects constructed on public lands. In addition to running Logan Airport, Massport owns more than 300 acres of land that is well located for construction projects.
Compliance with federal and state diversity regulations is now common practice. Sound management obeys the law, often just enough to avoid unpleasant repercussions. But Massport has a more committed model in mind. They view so-called minorities as partners in their projects with a 25 percent interest in every aspect. Diversity compliance usually focuses on employment, but Massport does not stop there. They expect full participation in designing, construction, equity, business tenancy as well as jobs.
This is a new model driven in part by the professional experience and energy of L. Duane Jackson, an independent real estate developer and member of the Massport board of directors. Its success should induce public agencies across the country to accept the principle that every aspect of public projects must benefit all citizens.