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Mayor Wu delivered her first State of the City address

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Kaushar Barejiya
Images of the City Address. Photo by Kaushar Barejiya / Mass Media Staff

On Wednesday, Jan. 25, Mayor Michelle Wu delivered her first State of the City Address at MGM Music Hall in Fenway. Mayor Wu addressed thousands of spectators eloquently, describing the challenges and visions for the City of Boston. City and State officials graced the event, including Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey and Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell.
Wu’s speech covered everything, from affordable housing to a robust transport system and creating a sustainable city for the residents of Boston. She confidently pledged to work toward achieving excellence in every sector, mainly education, healthcare, transportation and the environment.
Before laying out the set of goals she aims to achieve, Wu started by acknowledging the work of the city officials and civic heroes who have been working with her. She thanked them and expressed deep gratitude for their service to the City of Boston.
“It’s thanks to the people of Boston that I can stand here tonight and say—the state of the city is strong. And we have the resources, the resolve, and the responsibility to make it even stronger,” Wu said. “As we look to the year ahead, our administration is focused on building a green and growing city for everyone.
Some of the essential highlights of her speech include abolishing the Boston Planning and Development Agency, which oversees the city’s major real estate development projects. Over the next year, the city will transition planning efforts from the Boston Planning and Development Agency to a new City Planning and Design Department to increase planning and urban design in a coordinated effort to steer the city’s development. Later, the mayor stated that she would issue an executive order on Thursday to create a Planning Advisory Council that will completely incorporate long-term planning for growth and begin modernizing the city’s zoning code. Arthur Jemison, Chief of Planning, will lead this project.
When addressing the issue of the housing crisis, Wu said, “Of course, we can’t grow sustainably unless our residents are secure in their homes.” Wu is set to submit a Home Rule Petition to the City Council in the coming weeks to prevent rent gouging and safeguard our families from eviction and displacement. One of many accomplishments of Wu’s administration is that the Office of Housing permitted 3,800 housing units, which was the most it has ever done since 2018, including 1,300 affordable units—the most in a generation.
Wu is a strong proponent of the Green New Deal and is determined to make Boston a Green New Deal City. In her speech, she emphasized that “green” and “affordable” go hand in hand. She will issue an Executive Order mandating all new city construction and substantial renovations in our schools, municipal buildings and public housing to be fossil-fuel-free.
“Together, we can build a Boston that’s more green than concrete. Where housing is a given, not a godsend, and mobility is the minimum, not a miracle. Where the things we build inspire—but don’t define—us; and where each generation shines brighter than the last.”
Nearing the end of her speech, Wu announced her roadmap for early college education for students in Boston. She announced a collaboration with UMass Boston to develop a “year 13 curriculum at Fenway High School.” This program and partnership will provide students with an additional full year of debt-free college-level courses as they transfer to college and work toward a college degree.
Wu ended her address on a high tone. She described her job as surreal and hectic, taxing and inspiring, adding that it “feels like the most essential work in the world.” She praised community members’ resilience in the face of all the challenges and crises that Boston has experienced and continues to face. Her empowering words received a standing ovation from the audience.
“It’s thanks to the people of Boston that I can stand here tonight and say—the state of the city is strong.”
Sources:
https://www.boston.gov/news/mayor-wus-state-city-address

About the Contributor
Kaushar Barejiya, News Editor