Fair Housing Conference 2017 - Building Local Capacity

Last week, Jennifer spoke at the 11th Annual Fair Housing & Civil Rights Conference in Springfield, MA. She spoke as part of a panel on Affordable Housing, Disparate Impact, and Building Local Capacity with Shelly Goehring (Massachusetts Housing Partnership), Rita Farrell (Massachusetts Housing Partnership), and attorney Felicity Hardee. Read Felicity Hardee’s post about the workshop here.

The Fair Housing & Civil Rights conference was a multi-day event featuring workshops and panel discussions from civil rights leaders, nonprofit organizations, and government officials, all working to promote nationwide equality.


Jennifer’s presentation slides are attached below. In the presentation, she focused on building capacity in three categories: political, human, and financial. Check it out!

Fair Housing Conf_Building Local Capacity


Special Announcement!

We are thrilled to announce the newest member of JM Goldson’s team – Lara Kritzer joins us as Principal Planner!

Lara has close to two decades of experience in municipal government in Massachusetts that has focused primarily on historic preservation, affordable housing, and the administration of the Massachusetts Community Preservation Act. She also has extensive experience in grant writing and administration, comprehensive and community planning, open space conservation, neighborhood design reviews and surveys, as well as community engagement.

Lara joins JM Goldson after nearly a decade as the Senior Planner for the Town of Concord. There, Lara’s work focused on the oversight and development of the Town’s Community Preservation Act, Local Historic Districts, and Historical Commission activities and programs.  As staff to the Community Preservation Committee, Lara was responsible for administering an application and project oversight program with an average of $1.4 million in annual allocations to projects in community housing, open space, recreation, and historic preservation.  The wide range of her work in this area includes experience with the purchase of open space and agricultural lands; the restoration of both locally and nationally significant historic sites; the development of new playing fields and park spaces; and the construction of new affordable housing units both in existing and new developments.


Williamstown Future Neighborhoods Housing Vision

williamstown project mapThe team at JM Goldson is excited to assist the Town of Williamstown, MA, Planning Board, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Housing Partnership and coUrbanize, in an effort to actively engage the public in conversations about housing in the community’s vibrant and most walkable neighborhoods.

Check out the interactive mapping platform on the project’s coUrbanize site!

What is coUrbanize? It’s an online platform for urban planning projects to post information and host online conversations with community members.


Vineyard plans enter public comment period

Alex Elvin’s informative article “Housing Production Plans Create Blueprint for Future” in the Vineyard Gazette.


Heading to Martha's Vineyard to hear about housing needs



The Cape & Islands Housing Plans

As our planning team at JM Goldson completes housing plans for the Mid-Cape Town of Barnstable and the Island of Nantucket (teamed with RKG Associates), we are excited to announce new projects in the Cape and Islands region.

Teaming with Judi Barrett and the planners at RKG Associates Inc., JM Goldson began work on new projects this summer to prepare Housing Production Plans for the Lower Cape Town of Brewster and the six Martha’s Vineyard towns: Aquinnah, Chilmark, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, and West Tisbury.

labor market decliningThough we are in the early stages of these new projects, some similarities are obvious – namely their success as desirable summer destinations leads to a scarcity of year-round housing that is affordable to families and local workers.

As one business owner in Barnstable recently told us during a community workshop for the Housing Production Plan, employees of her business will often live off the Cape due to lack of homes in their price range and commute long distances for her jobs – people often get tired of this lifestyle, which leads to low worker retention, difficulty attracting skilled workers, and directly hurts the business. Other community members in the region tell us that their adult children are moving out of the region to find homes they can afford in areas with better job opportunities. These testimonies are supported by the data – millennials are moving out of the region and the population is aging – leading to a declining labor market.

As we help these communities plan for future community development and preservation, two common themes continue to emerge:  1) more housing choice is called for to support the needs of residents and foster a stronger local economy and 2) the location and design of new development must respect and protect the region’s fragile ecosystem and natural beauty.




The Missing Middle: Where is the mid-sized housing?

“Many people age 50 and older are looking to be part of a social network rather than living in an isolated environment with only people their age. Missing Middle tends to be in communities that are age diverse,” says architect Daniel Parolek.

When planners and housing specialists talk about the need for more housing options, we are often talking about what architect Daniel Parolek calls the “missing middle” – accessory apartments, townhouses, duplexes, four plexes, work/live units, etc. . .

Often this type of housing is missing as a result of overly-restrictive local zoning bylaws created decades ago.

In this AARP Livable Communities interview with Parolek, he describes how the idea of the American Dream is rapidly shifting and that more and more Americans want to live in a compact, walkable neighborhood with commercial amenities and services.

Can we embrace this new/old vision? What will it take to create these types of neighborhoods again?



MHP's 10th Annual Housing Institute - Registration is open!

Sign up and spread the word! The Massachusetts Housing Partnership’s Housing Institute (6/14-15) is a two-day intensive workshop in Devens that actively engages participants in discussion and problem solving around issues related to the development of affordable housing.

Lots of great sessions this year including “Illegal Neighborhoods” – How to use zoning to create great communities led by planning consultant Ken Buckland and Difficult Choices – Site Selection and Due Diligence led by development consultants, Kevin Maguire from Oxbow Partners and Rebecca Plaut Mautner.

I’m thrilled to be conducting two trainings again with Jenny Raitt (new Planning Director for Arlington, MA):

  • Where to Begin: Assessing Housing Needs and Creating Plans
  • Building Community Support for Affordable Housing

More info and to sign up.


Community Workshop in Brookline on June 1st



Upcoming: Barnstable Public Forum