CONSULTING PLANNERS OF MASSACHUSETTS
Expertise for Communities
Mass-ACP member Jeff Levine, city planner and MIT researcher, explains:
"And all those apartments and houses downtown? ... if some of the changes we've seen from COVID-19 become permanent, they'll be invaluable for keeping those areas vibrant.
...What some cities have been doing in terms of encouraging housing downtown is a huge plus,...Local businesses need more disposable income nearby than they used to in order to survive. Looking at those areas that used to be offices above retail and really encouraging them to convert to residential I generally see as a good thing - particularly if we keep having a lot more remote working. Those offices are harder to rent as office space in the future."
"The proposed Gowanus Neighborhood Rezoning asks a whiter, wealthier community to absorb new growth in order to create new, permanent affordability in a high-opportunity neighborhood with strong transit access."
Peter L’Official has written an important book that speaks with powerful relevance to the state of Black life in America today — and the demands of Black Lives Matter.
Mark Favermann, long time member of the Mass. Association of Consulting Planner
The public needs to take a lesson from the private sector and capitalize on the downturn in real estate in order to guarantee affordable housing.
OPINION By David M. Abromowitz
We’ve been here in the real estate cycle before. In the early 1990s, a banking crisis combined with a real estate recession led to tens of thousands of rental units going into foreclosure. As the Resolution Trust Corporation began disposing $450 billion worth of real estate from collapsed savings banks, up for grabs was the fate of thousands of apartment buildings across the country.
Despite advocates pressing to turn these assets into affordable rental housing, hurdles in the system resulted in relatively few properties increasing the supply of permanently affordable housing. Instead, cash-rich for-profit investors moved nimbly to buy apartments from the public at a deep discount and later flipped them for a significant profit. Tens of billions of dollars in public investment into failed savings loans could have been converted into meaningful housing stock, but the opportunity was largely missed.
Each spring, first-year Masters students in the Tufts Urban & Environmental Policy & Planning (UEP) must complete the Field Projects course, where students work in teams of 3-5 on projects hosted by real-world partners. We invite you to propose a project idea for the Spring 2021 Field Projects course.
To submit a project idea, please email a brief (half-page to a page) description by September 8, 2020 to Penn Loh (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Field Projects host doc 2021.pdf
To see what past UEP Field Projects teams have accomplished, take a look at recent projects, which are posted online at: https://as.tufts.edu/uep/community/field-projects
Making a place is not the same as designing and developing a building, public plaza, or even a commercial district. It is not just a physical place: it is a process whose purpose is to authentically satisfy people.
"Across the country, Confederate monuments are tumbling. Museums are stripping effigies of racist presidents past. Here in Los Angeles, indigenous activists toppled a statue of Junipero Serra, a canonized saint who founded the mission system that enslaved and brutalized generations of California Indians into abandoning their traditions.
The aftermath of George Floyd’s death while in police custody has created a moment for radical truth-telling. So here’s some ugly truth about the city of Los Angeles: Our freeway system is one of the most noxious monuments to racism and segregation in the country.
Most Angelenos don’t think about it as we spew carbon monoxide across the city on our way from Point A to Point B, but our toxic exhaust fumes feed into a pot of racism that’s been stewing for nearly a century. To understand exactly how that works, you have to know what things were like here before freeways came to dominate L.A.’s landscape.
Los Angeles was never a paradise of racial acceptance, but in 1910 some 36% of L.A.’s African Americans were homeowners (compared with 2.4% in New York City) — tops in the nation. L.A.’s comprehensive Red Car transit system, which offered easy, unsegregated access to the region’s growing economic opportunities, was fundamental to this success. Integrated, racially diverse neighborhoods like Watts and Boyle Heights emerged and thrived along these transit corridors.
When the 1944 Federal-Aid Highway Act allocated funds for 1,938 miles of freeways in California, planners used the opportunity, with full federal support, to obliterate as much as possible the casual mingling of the races."