Northeastern University’s Barry Bluestone released the 15th Greater Boston Housing Report Card, an exhaustive analysis of supply and demand factors in the Boston metro area.
In the report, Bluestone advocates creating transit-oriented “21st Century Villages” with variable unit sizes and amenities in buildings up to 35 stories. He envisions a village as having anything from apartments to “pods” of four-to-six single bedrooms with private baths, but shared kitchen and living rooms. The villages would also be for empty-nesters. They would even be prefabricated and could be manufactured in a Boston-area factory.
In addition to design, Bluestone suggests that public financing and deed restrictions on rent-increases be used. Municipalities and the Commonwealth should also change their laws to permit villages by-right.
But really, the trouble with affordable housing in Boston has never been financing or design. The trouble has always been getting NIMBYs to let it be built. Housing is a political problem.
Matthew M. Robare is a freelance journalist based in Boston.
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