For an introduction to what we're fighting for, and why, start with this FAQ.

Reports & Analysis

  • "A Brief History of Zoning in Cambridge" (2019), by Will MacArthur. A report prepared for Mayor McGovern studying the political forces that have shaped Cambridge's zoning history (primarily, the desire to maintain neighborhood socioeconomic exclusion). It also examines the relationships between current zoning and demographics, illustrating how low-density regions of Cambridge are substantially whiter and richer than high-density regions.

  • "The State of Zoning for Multi-Family Housing in Greater Boston" (2019), by Amy Dain. Research commissioned by the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance, looking into how and where multifamily housing is allowed in Greater Boston. It finds that very little land allows multifamily housing (where it is not banned, it is made impossible by "paper walls" of dimensional regulations), and that most projects are approved on an ad-hoc discretionary basis rather than by-right. It also finds that the vast majority of new multifamily development is being constructed at municipal peripheries, far from transit or walkable amenities, while village centers are only seeing incremental growth.

  • "Zoned Out: Why Massachusetts Needs to Legalize Apartments Near Transit" (2020), by Boston Indicators and the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. A report calling for a simple proposal: allowing townhomes, duplexes, and small apartment buildings within a half-mile of all commuter rail stations in Greater Boston. It analyzes the expected affordability and rate of redevelopment that such a policy would produce, and places the need for it within the context of residential segregation, high housing costs, and climate change caused by car dependence.


  • Golden Gates (2020), by Conor Dougherty. Chronicles of the San Francisco housing crisis, and efforts to fight it. An excerpt is available in the New York Times.
  • Generation Priced Out (2018), by Randy Shaw. A look at the housing crises in a number of different cities across America, the economic ruin they are causing, the policy decisions that led to them, and how different cities are trying to fight back.
  • The Color of Law (2017), by Richard Rothstein. A detailed look into segregation in America and how, far from being a "natural outcome" of economic trends and racist individuals, it was a direct byproduct of many explicit government policies at the local, state, and federal levels. A Better Cambridge hosted Richard Rothstein for a talk in 2018; you can watch the video here.
  • Neighborhood Defenders (2019), by Katherine Einstein, David Glick, and Maxwell Palmer. An investigation of how neighborhood participation in the housing permitting process, while theoretically open to all, exacerbates existing political inequalities, limits the housing supply, and contributes to the affordable housing crisis.