Boston to Require Fair Housing Review for New Developments

The Boston Zoning Code is one of the first in the nation to Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.

February 23, 2021, 6:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Boston

Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock

Back in December, Boston took steps to become the first large city in the nation to include Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) requirements in its zoning code. The news broke about the city's historic action after a vote by the City Council and an announcement of support by Mayor Martin J. Walsh.

According to the press release from Mayor Walsh's office, the new zoning amendment "will require developers in Boston to take substantial steps to stem displacement and provide further access to housing to those historically discriminated against."

"Boston's draft AFFH identifies over 100 actions under 14 goals across city agencies, including amending the Boston Zoning Code to affirmatively further fair housing," adds the press release. Moreover, the approved amendment to the Boston Zoning Code requires proposed development projects and Planned Development Areas (PDAs) to undergo Article 80 review "to consider impacts on area residents historically discriminated against so that steps can be taken to reduce those impacts, provide new housing opportunities, and address past histories of exclusion.

An article by Simón Rios provided news coverage of the approved zoning amendment at the time of a Planning Commission vote that preceded the City Council vote. Rios describes the new AFFH requirements in comparison to considerations the city's zoning code has traditionally granted to parking or environmental consequences.

"As part of the new rule, developers would receive a report from the city that includes demographic information of the neighborhood, as well as notes on any 'historical exclusion' of people within that area," reports Rios. "In their proposals, the builders then would be required to respond to those details, as well as present “intervention options” to address any negative housing impacts."

Fast forwarding to February, another article by James Jennings, Kathy Brown, Lincoln Larmond, and Robert Terrell provides insight into the political process that paved the way for this historic moment in Boston planning, in addition to detailing the measures implemented by the zoning amendment.

Thursday, February 18, 2021 in Shelterforce Magazine

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

Single-Family Housing Construction

New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives

The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.

May 16, 2022 - The White House

Complete Street Vancouver

Study: Most of Vancouver Is a ‘15-Minute City’

A large majority of Vancouver residents can access a grocery store in 15 minutes or less by bicycle or on foot.

May 20 - Vancouver Sun

Montreal, Quebec

Urban Design, Transport, and Health

The Lancet medical journal published a series of articles that explore how to evaluate and guide urban planning decisions to create healthy and sustainable cities. Live long and prosper!

May 20 - The Lancet - Urban Design, Transport, and Health

MoGo Bikeshare Bikes

Detroit Bike Share Celebrates Five Years

In its five years of operation, Detroit’s MoGo bikeshare has added electric and adaptive bikes to its fleet of more than 600 bikes.

May 20 - MoGo

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.