Like so many other metros in the U.S., the greater Boston area is experiencing a severe housing shortage. In response, 14 cities and towns in the region have banded together to form a regional partnership.
The partnership aims to quicken the pace of residential construction throughout the region, the Boston Business Journal reports. The group will study demographic and data projections as well as development trends and economic forecasts to set goals and a timeline for new housing construction. Participating municipalities include Boston, Braintree, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Newton, Quincy, Revere, Somerville and Winthrop.
Despite the notorious shortage, development did increase in 2017, according to the paper — roughly 12,900 housing permits will have been issued in the greater Boston region in 2017, up 12 percent from 2016. The city of Boston has been responsible for nearly 60 percent of multi-family housing permits.
“Affordable housing is one of our top priorities in Boston — and we know that for metro Boston to be affordable for all residents, we need to work together with cities and towns throughout the region,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement. “This plan is another step forward towards ensuring all those who wish to live here can, and I look forward to working with our partner cities and towns across the region to continue creating homes for all.”
According to the paper, the group’s priorities include:
- Speeding up construction in every community throughout Metro Boston.
- Creating both renter- and owner-occupied housing of various sizes.
- Locating housing near transit and in walkable neighborhoods and following design standards that prioritize accessibility.
- Reducing evictions, eliminating unfair rental practices, mitigating displacement and creating more housing for the homeless.
- Abolishing discrimination against tenants and buyers and prioritizing fair and equitable access.
This is not the first time municipalities in the Boston area have teamed up with their shared metro in mind. In October, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council announced that it would create a regional, rather than city-based, bike-share program with involvement from as many as 16 small towns and cities.
Rachel Dovey is an award-winning freelance writer and former USC Annenberg fellow living at the northern tip of California’s Bay Area. She writes about infrastructure, water and climate change and has been published by Bust, Wired, Paste, SF Weekly, the East Bay Express and the North Bay Bohemian.