Latest Housing Report Card reinforces the case for transformative redevelopment

The Greater Boston Housing Report Card released last week shows that middle class families are increasingly priced out of Boston by a hostile housing market that vastly favors high-end development. Commonwealth magazine’s Paul McMorrow hammered home the point in a Boston Globe op-ed describing a “city with rapidly growing populations of both rich and poor residents, while middle-class families are vanishing.”

This development pattern is problematic for the social fabric of the city, but at a regional level, the consequences are even greater. Greater Boston can’t generate robust job growth if the region can’t produce housing that middle-class workers can afford and find desirable.

Pro-growth Gateway Cities hold the promise for addressing the shortage of workforce housing—but they are trapped in a vicious cycle. In their current condition, rents are too low for developers to finance revitalization projects. Transformative redevelopment is key to making Gateway Cities attractive urban centers where we can grow housing opportunities that appeal to middle-class workers.

The Report Card calls for “keeping pressure on the state and on its local communities to assure sufficient housing at affordable prices.” The Gateway Cities are ready and willing to grow. All they need is tools that enable them to build.

– Winthrop Roosevelt

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