As the largest city in New England, and one of its oldest, Boston has long been the region's economic and cultural hub. According to the 2007 American Community Survey, the city's population is 50% white, 25% African American, 16% Hispanic, and 9% Asian. People of Irish and Italian ancestry comprise about one quarter of the city (16% and 8% respectively), while people of West Indian ancestry are the third largest group with 6.4% of the city's population. Among the nation's 50 most populated cities, Boston ranks fifth in the percentage of adults identifying themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual (12.3%).
Boston, with an estimated 2011 population of 625,000, remains one of the twenty-five largest cities in the country. While lower than its peak population of 800,000 in 1950, Boston has been steadily growing since 1980. The Greater Boston region is also home to nearly 4.5 million people - the tenth-largest metropolitan area in the country.
Boston has had a history of being home to many firsts, including the United States' first college - Harvard College (1636) - and the first subway system. In 2007, Mayor Menino made Boston the first major city in the nation to require development projects to meet the LEED Silver Standard. As a result, the Department of Neighborhood Development has adopted new design standards that will require projects to adopt the Energy Star Standard in addition to LEED Silver, reducing maintenance costs and promoting sustainability in all new affordable housing construction.
Boston is also home to many community partnerships: one such joint venture is the Fairmount Line Collaborative. Bringing together the Mattapan CDC, Dorchester Bay EDC, Codman Square NDC and the Southwest Boston CDC, the Fairmount Line Collaborative is dedicated to advocating for transit equity and to develop a collective development strategy for land adjacent to the current Fairmount/Indigo MBTA line. The Collaborative has been successful in getting the State to appropriate $14 million to modernize the two stops - Morton Street Station and the Cummings Highway station - in the Mattapan neighborhood.
Partners for Jackson is another collaboration of community development corporations, non-profit groups and private developers, including Urban Edge CDC and Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, committed to creating a community-driven redevelopment plan for Jackson Square. Designated master developer by the Boston Redevelopment Authority Director Mark Malone, Partners for Jackson is utilizing Jackson Square's strategic placement to the Jackson Square MBTA station to create an 11.5-acre mixed-income, mixed-use, transit-oriented development community. Helping reconnect the Jamaica Plain and Roxbury neighborhoods, the plan includes 420 new homes (60% affordable), a new youth and family center, small and mid-scale retail space, and a new plaza and other pedestrian-friendly improvements
An overview of community wealth building efforts follows: