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Housing Innovation Design Fellow

The City of Boston Housing Innovation Lab and the BSA Foundation


About The City of Boston Housing Innovation Lab and the BSA Foundation

The City of Boston’s Housing Innovation Lab and the BSA Foundation work together to explore new ideas and approaches in addressing our city’s housing needs.

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About This Position

The City of Boston’s Housing Innovation Lab (iLab) is partnering with the BSA Foundation (Foundation) to co-host a Housing Innovation Design Fellow (Fellow) who will oversee the effort of using innovative design to create more affordable housing throughout Boston. The Fellow will develop tactical solutions to Boston’s housing issues by helping us design, test and scale new policies that will make Boston affordable for all.

At the heart of this work is designing, conducting, and evaluating pilot projects with the potential to significantly improve the quality and quantity of affordable housing in Boston. The Fellow will act as a project manager, who is responsible for moving civic innovation projects from idea to the experimental phase to evaluation. The Fellow will take the lead role in managing several initiatives while playing a supportive role on others.

Among other tasks, the Fellow will research new concepts for affordable housing, write RFP’s to solicit design ideas, organize and oversee community engagement and design charrettes, facilitate actual pilot programs and work with others to evaluate all aspects of the projects.

The Fellow will split time between both organizations, conveniently, located within walking distance of each other. The Fellow will work on one set of shared projects. Through the iLab, the Fellow will gain a sophisticated understanding of the inner workings of City Hall, civic prototyping, public engagement, and policy creation/implementation. Through the Foundation’s network the Fellow will have the guidance of leaders in the Boston architectural and design community and a dedicated staff to help support programs. The Fellow will have an advisor with content expertise for each project, as well as management from the Director of the iLab and the Foundation’s Policy Director.

Relevant Skills:

The Fellow must be strong relationship builder, be willing to take risks, and be passionate about solving hard civic challenges with creative, original solutions.
We look for people with a track record that demonstrates both original thinking and an ability to execute in occasionally challenging environments.

We want team members who are comfortable both working alone and with a close office. Although they will be well supported, the Fellow should possess the confidence and judgement to develop and lead a strategic program independently.

We seek individuals with a deep subject matter expertise in areas such as design, technology or urbanism, as well as broad curiosity about cities.

We actively seek candidates of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.


  • Degree in architecture, urban planning, real estate development, government, public policy or similar field desired
  • Experience managing projects or programs and facilitating groups
  • Knowledge of housing innovation, housing policy, design, and technology; of concepts of urbanism relating to housing
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with broad groups of people such as employees in a variety of City departments, community groups, design professionals and the general public
  • Ability to effectively manage and implement projects; to prepare a variety of reports, presentations, press releases and statistics
  • Strong oral and written communication skills, organizational and problem solving skills and presentation skills
  • Proficiency in using software programs such as MS Word, Excel, MS Outlook and PowerPoint, InDesign, GIS, or other design visualization software strongly preferred Must be able to work a flexible work schedule of nights and weekends as required
  • Ability to exercise good judgment and focus on detail as required by the job
  • Bilingual preferred

The Partnership

The iLab and the BSA Foundation work together to explore new ideas and approaches in addressing our city’s housing needs. These collaborations have taken a wide variety of forms including developing zoning that allows homeowners to add an additional dwelling unit (ADU), encouraging new residential designs via innovation contests, and a traveling 375 sq.ft. urban housing unit (UHU) whose aim was to change the public’s view of compact living. Most recently, collaboration between the iLab and the BSA Foundation resulted in a two-year compact unit zoning pilot which is based, in part, on public commentary created during the UHU’s tour around six Boston neighborhoods.

About the iLab

Mayor Martin J Walsh established the Housing Innovation Lab in 2015 as a first of its kind effort to pilot and scale affordable housing innovations within municipal government. The iLab works with experts inside and outside of government to explore new ideas for making Boston’s housing more affordable. The iLab is embedded within the City’s Department of Neighborhood Development (DND), which is the agency responsible for housing creation, preservation and policy and the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM), which is the City’s innovation team.

About the BSA Foundation

The BSA Foundation (a 501(c)(3) organization) engages the public in design thinking to make sure Boston is an architecturally vibrant, healthy and equitable place for all. These goals are achieved by acting as a thought leader and a convener both for professionals and the Greater Boston community. The BSA Foundation is a sister organization to the Boston Society of Architects/AIA (BSA). The BSA Foundation relies on the volunteer expertise of the BSA to use design thinking and the unique assets of architects to address the challenges facing our city and region.


Union/Salary Plan/Grade: Non-Union

Two-year position

Salary $70,000

Hours Per Week: 35

How To Apply


To apply please follow this link where you will be able to upload your resume and cover letter and will also be prompted on other creative responses.

Applications will be accepted through Monday, July 29, 2019.


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