The 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.
Alex Elvin’s informative article “Housing Production Plans Create Blueprint for Future” in the Vineyard Gazette.
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.
Though 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.
“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?
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.
I am thrilled to have had a hand in the new CPA and Affordable Housing Guidebook: Create, preserve, support: Using Community Preservation Act funds to foster local housing initiatives.
The guidebook is hot off the press – just published by Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP)! The guidebook is the result of a highly collaborative effort with a great team including Susan Connelly, Rita Farrell, Laura Shufelt, Carsten Snow, and Calandra Clark at MHP’s Community Assistance team. Thanks also to a great team of outsider reviewers: Stuart Saginor and Katherine Roth at the Community Preservation Coalition and Shelly Goehring at the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance.
Check it out and spread the word about this valuable new free resource for CPA communities. Free download here.
Community conversations about local housing needs and development can be difficult and complex. At JM Goldson, we’ve found that creating visually-compelling materials to describe indicators of housing need can enhance public understanding and deepen community dialogue about housing issues.
This example of infographics from Arlington, MA, was developed in collaboration with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council and the Town of Arlington for interactive community workshops about Arlington’s 2016 Housing Production Plan update.