Boston Massachusetts suburbs grapple with real estate housing affordability
Like many other large U.S. cities, Boston is facing a housing shortage, particularly a dearth of homes and apartments considered affordable. In a report published last week, a consortium of local real estate advocates called the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance, examined a much-discussed trend in great detail: the fact that cities and towns throughout the state effectively restrict housing development — and therefore, affordability — through onerous land use and zoning laws.
Several suburban municipalities surrounding the city of Boston exemplify this problem. Despite the high level of demand for new housing in the Boston suburbs, hardly any projects make it off the drawing board due to community opposition and density restrictions.
WGBH profiled one recent proposal in Newton as an illustrative example of the dilemma. Since 2012, Newton has been working to attract proposals for a parcel of land owned by the MBTA, near the Riverside station on the Green Line’s D branch. The site, which currently consists of just a parking lot, is slated to become a large mixed-use development including at least 100 new affordable rental units out of a total of 675 proposed. But community groups have voiced opposition to the proposal, specifically its need for high density