ABC June 2021 News: Zoning and Racial Justice, New Member Orientation, and more

(Sent on June 23rd, 2021.)

The ABC/Sunrise Missing Middle Housing proposal has run out of time allotted by state rules governing zoning petitions. At this month’s Ordinance Committee hearing, it was clear that the proposal has succeeded in changing the conversation toward substantial -- not merely symbolic -- reform of our outdated zoning laws. It's not yet clear what form the conversation will take going forward, but ABC will continue to advocate for an end to exclusionary zoning.

Zoning reform would be more feasible if the City’s Planning Board, which reviews proposed zoning amendments and special permits for development, were more concerned by the harms of maintaining the status quo than by proposals for change. If you or a pro-housing friend may be interested in filling one of the vacant seats on the Planning Board, please apply or encourage them to apply now! The deadline is June 25.

Zoning and Racial Justice

  • The Biden administration’s recent changes in Federal housing policy were augmented by their new paper on the effects of exclusionary zoning in the housing market. Timed to coincide with the first national celebration of the Juneteenth holiday, this succinct essay links the history of zoning to the struggle against discrimination and segregation, documenting the physical, social, economic and environmental consequences over the years.
  • A panel discussion on Juneteenth and Housing in America is scheduled for this Thursday, June 24 at 6:00 pm ET. Black housing activists from California to Georgia will discuss the significance of the holiday and national housing policy at this open online event.


  • Several members of the City Council this week proposed adding floors of housing above the Central Square Library as an expansion of the City’s renovation plan. Boston is also considering following other cities in this path toward more housing.
  • Thinking about getting more involved in ABC? Want to learn more about what we’re working on? Join us for a New Member Orientation at 6:30pm on Monday, June 28. We’ll give a brief introductory presentation and then have questions and open conversation. Becoming a member is not required!
  • The Office of the Housing Liaison, Maura Pensak, has compiled an online guide to housing-related resources in Cambridge. It expands on their recent webinar on Eviction Prevention: Understanding Tenant Rights and Resources.
  • Here’s your chance! The MBTA is seeking public input that may influence the redesign of the T’s bus network. You can take their 10-minute survey here.