What better time to talk about housing in Boston than September -- a month when 70,000 Bostonians are moving into rental units across our city.

Housing affordability has been a long-standing issue in Boston. The City has a higher share of affordable housing stock than any other major city in America, yet middle-income residents and renters are often squeezed out. Although 20,000 new units were added between 2000 and 2010, 100,000 new jobs are expected to be created in Boston by 2020. Housing 2020, the Mayor's new housing plan, addresses these challenges in order to meet the city's evolving housing needs.

Of course, our favorite thing about the plan is its attention to energy-efficient and sustainable housing options. The plan points out that not only do we need more housing, but we need housing that is more efficient, and we need to locate more housing in places where there is existing public transportation infrastructure. Boston will continue to grow, and the City is planning to grow in the most sustainable way possible.

By increasing housing opportunities in Boston, we are also enabling many more people to live lower-carbon lifestyles. Today, more and more young professionals are choosing to live in urban areas where they can forgo car ownership, opting for alternative modes of transportation such as biking, walking, and public transportation. A decision to buy a home in the suburbs--often with a lower mortgage payment –often means the energy efficient, sustainable lifestyle of settling in the city is sacrificed.

That's why Housing 2020 sets forth a plan to build 30,000 new housing units: to provide more options for those wanting to live here in Boston and to ensure that our future housing stock is energy-efficient. Here are just some sustainable highlights from the plan:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions of public housing by 25%
  • Find more efficient ways to manage the need for off-street parking
  • Implement the new smaller unit size standards approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority in July 2013
  • Distill and disseminate design solutions from the City’s Energy-Positive demonstration initiative
  • Create a new zoning product that provides expedited reviews and density bonuses for creation of middle-income
    targeted housing that is energy-efficient and near transit modes and bicycle corridors.

Check out the full plan here and share your thoughts.

How do housing prices factor into your sustainable lifestyle?


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