ABC Responds to Slate Article: 'San Francisco's Civil War'

A Better Cambridge (ABC) thanks Slate for the article they ran by Henry Grabar about the challenges of providing affordable housing in our most expensive cities. While the article focused on San Francisco, it mentions Cambridge City Councillor Nadeem Mazen, who is quoted as saying, “The housing advocates and especially young urban planners, like this organization here A Better Cambridge, say ‘Build it now,’ ” Mazen said, referring to the local YIMBY group. “The problem with ‘Build it now’ is what we’re building is luxury housing with a small modicum of affordable required. They say there’s a 30-year wait, wait 30 years and luxury income will become middle-income housing. We have to understand that the free market isn’t going to solve this problem. Twelve or 20 percent isn’t enough.” Since Councillor Mazen mentioned us by name, we’d like to respond. Cambridge, like San Francisco, is no stranger to strong debates over the best strategies to reduce the cost of housing, and specifically increase the supply of affordable housing. ABC's fundamental belief is that the best way to reduce the cost of housing in today’s environment is to build more housing. We are just as concerned with preventing displacement of our neighbors, as we are with reducing housing costs. We believe new luxury housing provides an immediate reduction in displacement. Every luxury unit that is occupied is occupied by someone with the means to pay more rent than the vast majority of our neighbors. To compound the problem, typically when a housing development becomes too burdensome to get approved, it is replaced with a lab or office development which brings that many more affluent housing seekers into our city, displacing even more residents. We are focused on doing everything we can to bring housing costs down now. Our goal is to create an abundance of new homes in Cambridge and Metro Boston so people of all incomes can live in our city and region today. Slate has done a good job of highlighting the challenges our communities face, and the difficult politics associated with the housing debates. A Better Cambridge stands ready, willing and able to fight for housing for people of all incomes, a most basic human need. Original Link: http://www.slate.com/articles/business/metropolis/2017/06/yimbys_and_the_dsa_can_t_get_along_despite_their_common_enemy_high_rent.html

Learn about MIT's Volpe Development at ABC July General Meeting

This week MIT submitted a zoning petition for their major redevelopment of the Volpe site in Kendall Square. Their proposal includes up to 1,400 housing units, a focus on locally-owned retail, and potentially the tallest residential building in Cambridge. We invite you to hear from and ask questions of MIT representatives about their proposed development at the next ABC General Meeting: ABC July General MeetingMonday, July 17th6:30 P.M.MIT Stata CenterRoom 32-144We will post signs at the Stata Center to direct attendees to the correct room Let us know if you can make the meeting by RSVPing!While RSVP is not required, it will ensure we can accommodate everyone in the room ABC is intrigued by the development plans and have some questions we’d like to explore. Given our serious housing shortage, is 1,400 units all this site can handle? Should MIT be building grad student housing there? How much parking is included, and will it too much given the development’s proximity to the Kendall T stop? We are also excited to be joined by a representative of Citizens for a North South Rail Link to learn about their campaign to build an efficient and integrated regional rail network by connecting North and South Stations in Boston. ABC believes that building a diverse and affordable region means creating more homes and increasing mobility for all residents, so we look forward to this discussion.

Join the ABC members-only meeting on May 16

I wanted to make sure you knew about the special ABC members-only meeting coming up on Tuesday, May 16th. We are gathering our members and donors for this closed meeting to hear updates from our committees and make important decisions about the direction of our work in coming months.   Tuesday, May 16th 6:30 - 8:30 P.M. at CCTV - 438 Mass Ave This meeting is only to dues-paying ABC members who have joined since January 1st, 2017. Members - Please click here to RSVPNot a member? Please click here to join so that you can participate on May 16th.   The agenda for this meeting will tentatively include: Review and approve the proposed ABC platform Hear from the Policy Committee about our proposed Policy Advocacy Agenda Discuss and vote on ABC’s role in the fall City Council election Since ABC launched a membership drive earlier this year our supporter base has grown by leaps and bounds. We now have over a hundred dues-paying members across Cambridge that have demonstrated their commitment to building a more diverse and affordable city with housing opportunities for all families and individuals. This meeting is one of the opportunities that members have to influence the direction of our organization, so I hope you will attend on May 16.

Join fellow housing advocates at ABC's Strictly Social Meetup April 19th

A Better Cambridge isn’t just about work...we like to have fun too! I wanted to make sure you knew about our next Strictly Social event, coming up next week: Please RSVP via our Facebook event, or if you don’t have a Facebook account you can RSVP via our website. ABC has been busy lately! This winter we successfully advocated for passage of the Central Square Restoration Petition. Last week we celebrated Cambridge’s updated 20% inclusionary zoning ordinance. Recently we’ve joined with housing and community groups from around the region to advocate for short term rental regulations that preserve permanent housing in Cambridge. Stay tuned for more exciting announcements about our work in coming weeks... But next Wednesday's Strictly Social event is a time to let loose and celebrate our hard work! Whether you're a regular at ABC events, you've heard a little bit about us and want to know more, or you just like a good excuse to talk to great people over a beer or three while snacking on some delicious appetizers, this event is for you. All are welcome! Feel free to bring a friend.

ACTION ALERT: Tell City Council to Preserve Permanent Housing with Short Term Rental Regulations

As you may have heard, the Cambridge City Council is currently debating the best way to regulate the presence of AirBnB and other Short Term Rentals (STR) in our city. The council’s Ordinance Committee will hold a hearing on this issue next Tuesday.I hope you will attend the hearing, or write to the Councilors, to demonstrate your support for a draft ordinance limiting STRs to one owner-occupied unit, plus one additional unit on the same property. Ordinance Committee Hearing on Short Term RentalsTuesday, April 4th3:30 P.M.Sullivan ChambersCambridge City Hall Continue reading

NEW DATE: Exploring Housing Demand in Cambridge & Greater Boston with MAPC

UPDATE: Please click here to view slides from Tim Reardon's presentation. -------------------------------------- I am happy to announce that ABC has secured a new date for our March ABC meeting that was postponed due to Tuesday's snow storm. Note that the time and location remain the same: ABC March Meeting:Exploring Housing Demand in Cambridge & Greater Boston with MAPC's Tim Reardon Tuesday, March 28th 6:30 P.M. at the MIT Stata Center, Room 32-141 32 Vassar Street, Cambridge We'll post signs at the Stata Center to direct attendees to the correct roomPlease RSVP to let us know you're planning to come.RSVP is not required, but will help us ensure the room can accommodate everyone. As MAPC detailed in regional housing projections issued in 2015, demand for housing across our region expected to grow significantly over the next 25 years. This demand is due not just to new residents moving into our region, but also changing housing preferences of many families already living here, including aging baby boomers looking to downsize from suburban homes into more urban areas near public transportation, services, and amenities.YIMBYs including A Better Cambridge believe that housing production is critical to provide affordable housing opportunities to families and renters across the income spectrum...but just how much new housing is needed to make an impact? Join us for an insightful presentation to help us better understand housing demand in our community the critical role that housing production plays as we seek to build a more diverse, affordable and sustainable city and region.Please note that everyone is welcome at ABC general meetings. 

POSTPONED: Housing Demand & Solutions Forum

Due to the expected storm we have decided to postpone the ABC meeting and presentation with MAPC's Tim Reardon that was originally scheduled for Tuesday, March 14th.  We are working with the presenter and our hosts at MIT to find a new date in the near future.Stay tuned to this email list or our website or Facebook page for details on the rescheduled date.Please stay safe during the storm.

ABC February 2017 Newsletter: Attend Our March Meeting to Hear from MAPC about Regional Housing

After years of decline, population in the Greater Boston region is growing and is expected to continue to grow for years to come. YIMBYs like A Better Cambridge believe that housing production is critical to provide affordable housing opportunities to families across the income spectrum, but just how much new housing is needed to make an impact? Join ABC for our March general meeting as we hear from Tim Reardon, Data Services Director at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) who has been studying these questions for years. He'll present MAPC's housing projections for Cambridge to help us better understand the critical role that housing production plays as we seek to build a more diverse and sustainable city and region. ABC March General Meeting Tuesday, March 14th 6:30 P.M. at the MIT Stata Center, Room 32-141 32 Vassar Street, Cambridge  Everyone is welcome at ABC general meetings! NEWS AND UPDATES MIT announced its plans for the redevelopment of the Volpe Center site. The plans include 1,120 housing units along with office space and retail.Cambridge Chronicle After an increase in construction of multifamily housing in past years, the number of permits issued for 2016 fell sharply in cities and towns around Boston. This is a worrying sign for housing affordability in the region.Boston Globe UPCOMING EVENTS There will be a public meeting to discuss the redevelopment of 55 Wheeler Street in Alewife which would include 20% below market rate housing on Wednesday, March 1st at 7 pm. The meeting will take place at the Beth El Temple Center at 2 Concord Ave. in Belmont. The City will be hosting two public forums to help shape the search for the next Police Commissioner. The forums will be held on:Thursday, March 2, 2017, from 6-8 p.m., School Committee Room, CRLS, 459 Broadway.Saturday, March 4, 2017 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., Citywide Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Avenue.The City will be hosting free document shredding at City Hall on Saturday, March 11th, 9:30-11:30 am.There are multiple Envision Cambridge meetings in March and April. Information and dates are here. LINKS OF INTEREST Want to Reduce the Energy Used by Buildings? Make Cities Denser How Denver Pushed Rents Down Citywide Popping the Housing Bubble in the American Mind  

ABC March Meeting: Join us to learn from MAPC about housing demand in our region

After years of decline, population in the Greater Boston region is growing and is expected to continue to grow for years to come. YIMBYs including A Better Cambridge believe that housing production is critical to provide affordable housing opportunities to families and renters across the income spectrum...but just how much new housing is needed to make an impact?Join ABC for our March general meeting as we hear from Tim Reardon, Data Services Director at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) who has studied these questions. Tim will present MAPC's housing projections for Cambridge and Greater Boston to help us better understand the critical role that housing production plays as we seek to build a more diverse, affordable and sustainable city and region. ABC March General Meeting Tuesday, March 14th 6:30 P.M. at the MIT Stata Center, Room 32-141 32 Vassar Street, Cambridge We'll post signs at the Stata Center to direct attendees to the correct roomPlease RSVP to let us know you're planning to come.RSVP is not required, but will help us ensure the room can accommodate everyone.Remember, everyone is welcome at ABC general meetings. 

ACTION ALERT: Tell City Council to vote YES on Central Square Restoration Petition

After months of advocacy by ABC and our supporters, the Cambridge City Council is now poised to approve the Central Square Restoration Petition at tonight's meeting. I’m asking you to take two final actions to ensure this important petition passes: Continue reading