James O’Connell

Lecturer, Metropolitan College

Jim is a Community Planner at the Boston Office of the Northeast Region of the National Park Service, where he specializes in planning for historic sites and heritage areas. Before joining the National Park Service, Jim served as Economic Development Officer of the Cape Cod Commission, the regional planning and land use regulatory agency for Cape Cod. In Springfield, MA, his positions included Deputy Executive Director of the Springfield Redevelopment Authority and Executive Director of the Hampden County Energy Office.

Jim has written five books and many articles on planning and New England history. His books include The Hub’s Metropolis: Greater Boston’s Development from Railroad Suburbs to Smart Growth (MIT Press), Becoming Cape Cod: Creating a Seaside Resort (University Press of New England), and Shaping an Urban Image: Downtown Planning in Springfield, Massachusetts (Connecticut Valley Historical Museum). He also contributed to A Landscape History of New England (MIT Press). He has written essays on regional planning and civic leadership for Governing Greater Boston, a public policy review published by the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Jim currently serves as chair of the Massachusetts Zoning Reform Working Group, which has developed model state zoning legislation. He has taught Smart Growth Planning in the Sustainable Design Program at the Boston Architectural College and Urban Planning at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.