Transit Corridor Strategy for More Housing

from Karen Kelleher, Reporter

Interested in new policy developments on housing production in the Greater Boston area? The latest research from Mass Housing Partnership (MHP) is of interest.  They just released (Dec. 18, 2019) in interactive map showing relative housing density around every mass transit and commuter rail station in the system, concluding that the region could add 235,000 units if every community allowed density as of right in the area around transit.

CHAPA has legislation pending that would require municipalities served by transit to allow higher density as of right within a certain distance from transit stations. You’ll see that the density around Alewife is not too bad in the context of the entire system.

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Ease Regional Housing Crisis: Four Tasks

According to a Nov. 26, 2019 Boston GLOBE editorial, there are four tasks necessary to ease the housing crisis in the Greater Boston Region:

  1. Champion housing production and affordability at the state level.
  2. Urge private-sector investment in housing solutions.
  3. Drive inclusive growth.
  4. Get more involved locally.

This editorial by Paul S. Grogan, president and CEO of the Boston Foundation and Arlington resident, Karen E. Kelleher, executive director of LISC Boston, explain these four tasks. They also describe how much other, comparable urban areas around the US are doing to solve similar housing problems. We are not keeping up with solutions. It will take a collective effort. “Next Level Housing Solutions” is a collaboration of concerned organizations and community leaders intended to move the region toward housing solutions.

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Four Big Housing Challenges In Metro Boston

Data in a Mass Housing Partnership report shows how far behind the Boston metropolitan area has fallen in meeting the housing needs of its citizens. There are four primary categories for measuring the inadequacies: 1. Availability, 2. Affordability, 3. L0cation and Mobility and 4. Equitability. See the full report for more data and examples. Two slides are shown below.

Despite increasing population and job growth, Mass. has one of the lowest rates of housing production in the USA
Average zoning jurisdictions in Mass. arrepresent only 10,000 people. This makes it hard to achieve meaningful, broad public policy goals.
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