"Other than Boston, other cities and towns do not have specific benchmark goals."
Due to low construction rates, a coalition of 15 mayors from the Boston area have set a goal to have 185,000 new homes built in their area in the next 11 years. This will keep pace with job and population growth that is driving up demand and prices for existing housing. Somerville mayor Joe Curtatone warned the region’s “housing emergency…has deep and disastrous impacts.” Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, who increased his city’s new-housing target by 30% as part of the team effort, committed to creating about one-third of the total goal in his area.
Low Construction Rates Brings Leaders Together
Walsh spearheaded his own city’s plan and other municipalities in the region have gotten on board. Since 2010, only 32,500 homes have been permitted. The area will have to triple the rate of construction. Other than Boston, other cities and towns do not have specific benchmark goals. The goal of the plan, which recently received support from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), is to bring regional leaders together to tackle the issue. “No one community can do this alone,” said MAPC executive director Marc Draisen.
Stephanie Burke, mayor of Medford, reported her city hopes to erect housing developments along future rail line extensions. Mayor Ruthanne Fuller of Newton, admitted housing developments in her area often face pushback. Fuller cited residents’ concerns about the effects of increased development. It could impact the local traffic, schools, and overall quality of life. Newton will work to alleviate these concerns by building around mass transit options, such as Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).