Skip to content
coUrbanize
Blog

Boston’s Mayoral Race: An Indicator for Housing and Zoning Policy in the U.S.?

Annissa Essaibi George (left) and Michelle Wu (right). Image taken from Boston.com

It’s Election Day, and that means Boston’s closely-watched Mayoral Race will (or should!) come to its conclusion tonight. In the most diverse pool of mayoral candidates that Boston has ever seen, they all had one issue in common: housing and zoning innovation as a key pillar of their platforms.

We call Boston our home, and because of that, this race is important to us. But as we watch through the lens of coUrbanize’s mission – to help our partners build a more equitable, community-oriented development process – we can’t help but think the ramifications of the election stretch way beyond our city.

Historically, Boston has, in many cases, set the tone for progress in numerous fields: education, medicine, technology. Similarly, we believe the results of this race will have important undertones for development in the years to come.

Candidates Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George have what some view as competing opinions on housing and zoning issues. George, often viewed as the more moderate of the two candidates, tends to push back on some of Wu’s more politically left-leaning stances on issues like rent control and free public transportation. Wu argues strongly in favor of providing more widespread access and transparency to the public.

However, as this article from the Boston Globe points out, it’s likely that regardless of the outcome tonight, changes are on the horizon, particularly concerning the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA). Of note, both candidates align on creating a more equitable and inclusive development process, address the housing crisis, and make rental housing more affordable.

Although Wu is widely regarded as the harsher critic of the current development processes, both candidates have voiced proposals that would have significant impact on the BPDA. In our experience working with developers around the country, that type of impact leads to important but necessary changes.

And one way or another, change is already in the air. Boston has begun addressing changes to the development process that stifle housing production, especially affordable housing. As recently as two weeks ago, Boston City Councilors voted to change the parking requirements for affordable projects. Tonight will play a significant role in determining how Boston will continue the path to a more equitable and inclusive system of housing and development.

Back to top

Related Posts

How Cities & Towns Use coUrbanize

How Cities & Towns Use coUrbanize

As cities and towns rethink and plan for their futures, we’ve seen new and interesting use cases for hosting projects on coUrbanize because of ongoing limitations on public meetings and on-the-ground outreach.
Read more
22 Urban Planning Twitter Accounts You Should Follow

22 Urban Planning Twitter Accounts You Should Follow

It has been well-documented that income, education, and race are correlated with access to green space, but the pandemic highlighted these stark divides. As we continue the conversation about inequities in planning, we’re sharing a list of some of our favorite thought leaders in the space.
Read more
Overcoming NIMBYism for Affordable Housing Projects

Overcoming NIMBYism for Affordable Housing Projects

People say they support affordable housing but then sing a different tune when it’s in their neighborhood. Why is this? Misinformation, lack of information, or bias. While there’s no quick fix for overcoming the NIMBYism that prevents good, community-focused projects from being built, there are ways to tackle NIMBYism head on.
Read more

Want to learn more? Schedule a Demo