Overcoming Barriers to Housing in Greater Boston

January 28, 2003
Charles Euchner (Executive Director, Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston)

The Boston area is experiencing a severe housing crisis. Regulations have a significant impact on the production of new housing and, more generally, on the cost of housing. Regulations affecting housing in Massachusetts span a broad spectrum of concerns, such as environmental, wetlands, and septic rules; local zoning, variance, and inspection standards; state oversight of new construction and the rehabilitation of existing structures; and access to public lands.
Clearly, regulations are needed to ensure safety and the achievement of important social objectives. But have we gone too far? Have we implemented a sensible regulatory regime or overly bureaucratic rule-making? Are we sacrificing the area's economy and hospitality to newcomers for the status quo? This Pioneer Institute-Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston study focuses on the impact of regulations on the production of new housing.