Smart Growth Policies for Affordable Housing

Champion smart zoning and development so that Cambridge remains affordable for everyone

  • Prioritize a City-Wide 100% Affordable Housing Overlay that would allow Cambridge to keep and attract more middle-income families and enable affordable housing developers (especially nonprofits) to better compete with private developers.

  • Insist that the city budget include $20 million each year for the next five years, to develop more affordable housing.

  • Reform our zoning codes to promote mixed-income developments and address our areas of concentrated poverty so that all neighborhoods are economically and racially diverse, and so that we can lead a national movement for an Economic Fair Housing Act.

  • Support the important work of the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Tenant Displacement to enact tenant protections, fight displacement, and provide new revenue to meet these goals.

  • Require our local universities to house 75% of its graduate students over the next 10 years.

  • Create plans for developing city-owned parking lots into workforce housing so that our middle income families and individuals can stay in Cambridge, and begin discussions with private owners of parking lots for the same purpose.

  • Explore ways to offer property tax exemptions to encourage small property owners to offer below-market rents, or for developers to prioritize workforce housing and family-sized units.

  • Identify abandoned buildings and vacant lots, and work with the property owners to develop long-term development plans to stave off blight; evaluate a potential zoning ordinance that would add tax increases for properties that have been abandoned or vacant for 5, 10, and 15+ years.

  • Establish a Voluntary Action Fund for Housing Affordability that would ask our local corporate employers, venture capital/private equity community, major institutions, nonprofits, and benevolent residents to help finance more workforce housing.

  • Establish a Community Contract Enforcement office so that developers are held accountable for their final projects, specifically so that the community's negotiated requirements have been implemented.

  • Ensure that our zoning codes and project approval processes are not overly burdensome to residents requesting small-scale changes to their homes.

  • Amend the zoning code to more easily allow artists to create live/work spaces, thereby keeping a vibrant community of artists in the city.