How much housing does Cambridge need by the year 2030?

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As the city council considers a proposal from Normandy Real Estate Partners and Twining Properties to construct a high-end residential tower at the intersection of Columbia Street, Mass Ave, and Main Street (pictured above), many residents are asking the question: How much housing does Cambridge need by the year 2030?

The Citywide Master Plan is expected to provide an answer, but for now, I asked my legislative aide to contact the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) to get their latest estimates and projections.

According to the Director of Data Services for MAPC, it is projected that Cambridge will need to produce between 3,100 and 6,200 additional units of housing during the 20-year period starting in 2010 and ending in 2030. An explanation of the basis for the projection, along with details on two different growth scenarios, is available here on the MAPC website. Scroll down to page 5 to see specific recommendations for our city.

While the MAPC analysis calls for up to 6,200 new units in Cambridge by 2030, it's also worth pointing out that in just the past year, some 2,450 units of new housing were either completed or in construction across the city, according to the Community Development Department's 2014 Year In Review. Taken together, these numbers indicate that Cambridge is making real progress toward MAPC's 2030 goal.

As a first-term city councillor, and as an architect, urban planner, and urban designer who has served as a consultant to planning boards in Cambridge and in other municipalities, I recognize that housing is the top priority for many Cambridge residents, and I am committed to working with my colleagues and all interested parties to address the on-going crisis of affordability in our city.

And when it comes to Central Square, I believe the most effective way to maximize opportunities for new housing, especially housing for people, families, and seniors of low-, moderate-, and middle-incomes, is through a district-wide approach that builds on the City's recent planning initiatives, including efforts to leverage city-owned parking lots for transit oriented development.


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