Obama's YIMBY Moment

I wanted to make sure you had a chance to read yesterday's Boston Globe editorial about "Obama's YIMBY Moment."

As the editorial describes, President Obama recently released a white paper calling for cities to eliminate exclusionary zoning and increase density in order create more housing opportunities for all families, including low- and moderate-income individuals. But as a famous Cantabrigian once said, all politics is local -- and to help make the President's case, the Globe editorial board described the ongoing situation with the downzoning in Riverside which A Better Cambridge has actively opposed:

In the name of discouraging “inappropriate development,” a hundred or so residents of the Riverside section of Cambridgeport signed a petition seeking zoning changes that would make it harder for property owners to add to their homes or build anew. Not so fast, said other residents, who recognized that the move would aggravate a region-wide housing shortage. The Cambridge Planning Board rightly rejected the downzoning proposal earlier this year, but supporters kept pushing. And on Wednesday, there it was, back from the dead, at a hearing before another city panel. 

This is the kind of excessive local regulation the Obama White House had in mind recently when it released a remarkable policy paper calling on cities and counties to ease their zoning laws. Housing advocates in the Boston area have been seeking such changes for years, and a budding network of “yes in my back yard” activists is beginning to emerge at a national level. The White House paper only underscores how local zoning obstacles add up to a problem for the entire American economy. (Read the full editorial here)

A Better Cambridge is proud to be among the Boston-area YIMBYs, advocating for more housing by eliminating exclusionary zoning in our community. When we started our work in 2012 we never imagine having the support of the largest newspaper in New England...let alone from the leader of the free world! We are grateful to the Globe for their ongoing coverage of our workWe are thrilled to count President Obama among the national YIMBY ranks.

Are you a YIMBY too? If you believe it is time to end the restrictive, exclusionary zoning and say YES to more housing and sustainable development in your backyard I encourage you to get involved with our efforts. What better way to learn more about our work than over a beer or two at ABC's next Strictly Social Meetup next Thursday, October 20th at 6:30pm at The Field Pub in Central Square? While this is designed to be a low-key, social event without too much talk of zoning or development -- I'm sure it won't take much to get me talking about how you can join our work. Please let us know you are coming by RSVPing via the Facebook event or on our website.

Thanks for your support.

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