Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development (OSPCD)

Somerville, Massachusetts is a city that upholds progressive principles for both employees and residents. The City of Somerville embraces and encourages an innovative, empowering, and collaborative workplace culture in a fast-paced, challenging environment. The City also offers a generous benefits package that embodies a strong work-life balance. Not only is Somerville a “Model City,” as termed by The Boston Globe, but it is also a model employer.

Somerville is working to implement the award-winning SomerVision Comprehensive Plan, while developing and implementing plans for Somerville’s individual neighborhoods and squares. The City has committed to expanding and improving parks, plazas, playgrounds, paths, fields, and streetscapes, while expanding urban tree canopy. 

The City of Somerville is seeking to fill a management position within the Office of Strategy Planning & Community Development (OSPCD), which oversees the City’s planning, economic development, public space, transportation and housing initiatives. This new position, the Director of Public Space and Urban Forestry, performs management and policy work to ensure that public and private investment advance the City’s goal of becoming the most walkable, bikeable, transit-oriented city in the nation. Interdisciplinary planning characterizes the work of the Public Space and Urban Forestry Division, which strives to deliver parks, plazas, playgrounds, paths, fields and streetscapes that live up to the aspirations of Somerville’s adopted Comprehensive Plan, adopted Open Space and Recreation Plan, adopted Climate Plan and ongoing initiatives including the City’s Public Space and Public Life planning, Vision Zero planning, Urban Forestry planning and other related initiatives. Direct reports include high-capacity licensed landscape architects, construction managers and certified arborists. 

Statement of Duties: The Director of Public Space and Urban Forestry is responsible for developing, planning, overseeing and executing programs and projects to develop and improve parks, plazas, playgrounds, paths, fields and streetscapes, as well as the City’s Urban Forestry program. The Director must demonstrate depth of experience in project design and implementation, public engagement, policy development, project management and financial management. Employee is required to perform all similar or related duties.

Essential Functions:

  • Oversee programs responsible for renovation, development and maintenance of Somerville's parks and open spaces.
  • Coordinate Somerville’s urban forestry program.
  • Participates in the development of the HUD Five Year Consolidated and Annual Action Plans and Annual Caper reporting. Oversees Infrastructure and Parks and Open Space projects funded through the City’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
  • Manage staff advancing programs, policies and initiatives integral to SPCD.
  • Report, present, research information to execute programs and plan projects.
  • Review and interview consultant selection for city services.
  • Provides strategic open space planning policy and program analysis, supervisory, managerial and organizational development.
  • Ensures that initiatives and priorities of the Administration portfolio under public space and urban forestry are met.
  • Supervises multi-disciplinary projects in developable areas of the city requiring new and upgraded public spaces.
  • Coordinates the City’s Privately Owned Public Space (POPS) program.
  • Advises Executive Director on Staffing Requirements.
  • Presents recommendations to the Executive Director, Mayor, Board of Aldermen, and other City of Somerville and external stakeholders.
  • Represents the City of Somerville’s interests before Federal, State, and Local Government agencies.

Education and Experience: Bachelor’s degree (Master’s preferred) in landscape architecture, urban forestry or related subject with at least five to seven (5-7) years related work experience; or any equivalent combination of education, training and experience which provides the required knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the essential functions of the job.

Special Requirements: Registered Landscape Architect, Arborist, AICP or PE recommended

Knowledge, Abilities and Skill

Knowledge: Thorough knowledge of the principles and practices of public and privately owned parks, playgrounds and plazas, as well as urban forestry; particular knowledge and experience with relation to design, construction and inspection problems; ability to plan, assign and supervise the work of a group of employees performing varied functions related to public space design, planning, engineering and construction.

Abilities: Ability to establish good working relationships with contractors, developers, subcontractors, other federal, state and local agencies, department personnel, Board of Aldermen and the public. Ability to acquire and administer human, financial, material and information resources in a manner to instill public trust and in accordance with department goals and objectives. Ability to establish and maintain effective external working relationships with constituents, stakeholders, industry professionals, professional organizations and regulatory agencies.

Skill: Has extensive computer skills; organizational skills; communication skills. Excellent leadership and management skills including project management, budgeting and progress tracking skills. Excellent strategic planning, organizational, and presentation skills.

Work Environment

The work environment involves everyday discomforts typical of offices, with occasional exposure to outside elements. Noise or physical surroundings may be distracting, but conditions are generally not unpleasant. Employee may be required to work beyond normal business hours to attend evening meetings.

Physical and Mental Requirements

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the position’s essential functions.

Physical Skills

Little or no physical demands are required to perform the work. Work effort principally involves sitting to perform work tasks, with intermittent periods of stooping, walking, and standing. There may also be some occasional lifting of objects such as books, office equipment and computer paper (up to 30 lbs.)

Motor Skills

Duties are largely mental rather than physical, but the job may occasionally require minimal motor skills for activities such as moving objects, operating a telephone system, computer and/or most other office equipment, typing and/or word processing, filing, and sorting.

Visual Skills

Visual demands include constantly reading documents for general understanding and for analytical purposes and routinely reviewing maps and blueprints with a need for color vision.

Application Procedure: 

Send your resume and cover letter by August 15, 2019 to:

City Hall Personnel Office
93 Highland Avenue
Somerville MA 02143
Fax: 617-666-4426
TTY: 1-866-808-4851
Email: [email protected]

City of Somerville residents are especially encouraged to apply.

The City of Somerville is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, age, national origin, disability or any other protected category. Women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Auxiliary aids and services, written materials in alternative formats, and reasonable modifications in policies and procedures will be provided to qualified individuals with disabilities free of charge, upon request.

Individuals with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication, written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures, in order to access the programs and activities of the City of Somerville or to attend meetings, should contact the City’s ADA Coordinator, Nency Salamoun, at 617-625-6600 x2323 or [email protected].

Full Time Plus Benefits
Application Start Date: 
Thursday, July 25, 2019
Application End Date: 
Thursday, August 15, 2019