Full-Time Boston Land Acquisition and Energy Resilience
The City of Boston aims to provide its citizens with an expansion of open and public space with the goal of mitigating the effects of climate change that are affecting the ecosystems, health, infrastructure, livelihoods, and security of its residents. The FUSE Executive Fellow will develop an open space acquisition protocol that is rooted in an equity roadmap for fair land acquisition.
Fellowship Dates: October 23, 2023 – October 21, 2024
Salary: Executive Fellows are FUSE employees and receive an annual base salary of $80,000. Fellows can also access various health, dental, and vision insurance benefits. Compensation for this year of public service is not intended to represent market-rate compensation for the experienced professionals in our program.
ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP
FUSE is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.
When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and able to effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.
Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. Throughout their fellowships, they receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.
After conducting an active listening campaign with Boston stakeholders, the City of Boston is committing to providing its citizens with an expansion of open public space. The Olmstead Era of the late 19th Century was the last time that the City of Boston truly invested in its citywide public park land use, and the leadership in the City of Boston believes that now is time for an innovative and updated vision for the expansion of city parklands. The aforementioned Olmsted Era was a time of grand urban planning, visioning and reimagining what public park lands could be. The Emerald Necklace and other wonders of the Boston area are real life, tactile examples of how urban planning can inspire recreation, exude artistry, spark community connections, and demonstrate how public parks can increase the economic value of a place.
The City of Boston updates its citywide recreation plan every seven years, and this process has recently concluded, finding that a wide array of recreation could be more equitably distributed and accessible to citizens throughout the city. Other findings clarified that there is no new land to acquire in this densely populated city. The report indicates that the conversion of land into parks is what is available as a strategy and as a result, a creative visioning of future uses for recreation must be considered.
The city-wide Parcel Priority Plan allows the city to see the opportunity and pressing need to open up new public and green spaces. This document helped the city to see opportunities where park equity and energy impacts are possible. One of the strongest contributions from this document and process was its inclusion of voices and perspectives from across the city, ensuring that communities often left out of the urban planning process are included and prioritized.
The City of Boston wants to improve the quality of the existing park system while increasing the number of public parks across the city. In this emerging plan, immigrant populations will be represented in ways that they have not historically been. Inequity in access to quality parks will be addressed through the inclusion of historically marginalized communities in the planning process itself. Cost of living increases pricing out long-term residents is a development trend plaguing every urban area across the US; this will be considered through the process of land acquisition and prioritization of urban, open, public spaces in Boston.
The City of Boston will partner with FUSE to coordinate a listening tour to hear from stakeholders; conduct a landscape analysis of current projects and needs; research successful models from other agencies and localities resulting in the creation of a thought leadership team to execute the shared visions; and shape a financing strategy to support the city’s energy resilience and land acquisition related projects. This work will help Boston to identify and reach its land acquisition and energy resilience goals so that its residents enjoy an increase in public space as well as an upgrade of the gorgeous open and public spaces it already boasts.
PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES
The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship.
The FUSE Executive Fellow, in collaboration with the Parks Department and the Law Department, will create a thoroughly streamlined and documented process for land acquisition for the City of Boston. This effort will include the evaluation and listing of current acquisition standard operating procedures, standard legal templates, processes for land use planning, and documentation of eminent domain best practices and conservation restriction questions. This will set a tone of efficiency and streamlined process mapping for the City’s emerging public park vision. The Executive Fellow will provide guidance but will not be acting as legal counsel as they support the coalition through the creation of these essential practices and protocols.
The Executive Fellow will identify opportunities to acquire new land parcels through the development of partnerships with stakeholders in the departments of urban planning and design, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, and the Boston Conservation Commission. Cultivating positive and healthy working relationships with a wide range of partners and players will be a key function of this role. The Executive Fellow will leverage their expertise in various areas to drive impactful changes. They will streamline the Request for Proposal (RFP) process, ensuring standardization and efficiency. Additionally, they will collaborate with the state to develop a comprehensive closeout process, facilitating smooth project completion. Moreover, they will optimize the order of operations, creating a well-defined and streamlined process flow. Lastly, the Executive Fellow will identify and implement best practices for sale and purchase agreements, maximizing efficiency and effectiveness in these critical transactions.
Developing a roadmap for how to approach open space acquisition with the goal of minimizing harm hrough the process itself will be an essential element of this role. This approach will further the City of Boston’s goal in doing no harm through the process of land acquisition. This will require a high level of diplomacy, social navigation, and cultural competency in the Executive Fellow. Additionally, a climate resilience lens will be applied to the creation of protocols, practices, and in identifying stakeholders, to further root this work in equity and inclusion.
Identifying alternative methods for the acquisition of property beyond purchases and sales are places and spaces that the Executive Fellow will apply their focus. Innovative thinking, coalition building, and the navigating of multiple sets of protocols will be required of the Executive Fellow in this role.
By October 2024, the FUSE Executive Fellow will have:
- Developed an open space acquisition standard operating best practices guide – RFP process created; closeout process with the state created; legal process and templates designed and tested; developed a process flow for order of operations; sale and purchase agreements developed; and defined best practices with applicable examples.
- Developed an equity roadmap for open land acquisition– Energy resilience lens will be applied to the creation of protocols, practices, and in identifying stakeholders; Identified alternative methods for the acquisition of property beyond purchases and sales and when one is the appropriate one to apply; and canopy protection and preservation research will be included.
- Executive Sponsor – Jason Lederman, Chief of Government Services; Law Department, City of Boston
- Project Supervisor – Liza Myers, Chief Landscape Architect; Parks Department, City of Boston
In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in, public land use/trust and acquisition experience, negotiation skills, cultural competency, environmental justice, and conservation is strongly preferred for this project.
- Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
- Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
- Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to difficult challenges.
- Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies and other processes.
- Communicates effectively both verbally and in writing, and excels in both active listening and conversing.
- Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies in order to support more effective decision making.
- Establishes and maintains strong relationships with a diverse array of stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, and particularly including community-based relationships.
- Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
- Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy, while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.
FUSE is an equal opportunity employer with core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.