In the spring of 1999 the Archdiocese of Boston issued a challenge to the Boston business community to develop new housing policies in the region to alleviate the shortage of affordable housing for residents of Greater Boston.
Following this call to action, the Planning Office for Urban Affairs led an effort to convene a broad array of stakeholders, collecting input from dozens of municipalities, advocates, public officials, business leaders and others from 2000 to 2001. With significant research conducted by Northeastern University's Center for Urban and Regional Policy, "A New Paradigm for Housing in Greater Boston," often referred to as the Cardinal's study, was published in February 2001. The New Paradigm study determined that 36,000 additional housing units were needed over the following five-year period above anticipated production levels to address the housing crisis. The study established this numerical goal, for the first time in the region, for the number of units to be produced. It also provided a detailed assessment of the barriers to increasing the housing supply and called for "collective responsibility" among the public, private and non-profit sectors for each to contribute to a comprehensive housing solution.
For its part, the Archdiocese made available surplus property to be converted by the Planning Office for Urban Affairs into affordable and mixed-income housing, leading to the development of several new residential communities. As a nationally recognized leader in the production of high quality, vibrant mixed-income housing, the Planning Office played a significant role in responding to the call of this initiative.
For a full copy of "A New Paradigm for Housing in Greater Boston," click here.
One legacy of A New Paradigm is the annual Greater Boston Housing Report Card. The Report Card, jointly published by The Boston Foundation and The Center for Urban and Regional Planning at Northeastern University, is an influential regional housing policy guide that builds on the 2001 report. To view current and past reports, click here.