Anyone watching NECN, New England Cable News, on January 16, 2014, probably saw its featured story on the Boston metropolitan area’s future growth.
Specifically, the cable news channel covered a Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) report on demographic and economic trends, which calculates the need for some 435,000 new housing units – including affordable apartments, single family homes, condos, townhouses, and even something called “micro units” – by 2040 if our region is going to sustain the record of strong economic and civic expansion we’ve establishing during the past couple of decades.
Even if we fall short of “strong” economic growth, we’ll apparently still need some 300,000 additional housing units.
Various experts and officials spoke about the need for additional workers to staff new and expanding businesses, and – naturally – for places where those workers and their families can live.
To put this need in perspective, the MAPC report claims that we’re going to have to build, refit, and rehab as much housing as we now have in Boston, Quincy,Cambridge, Somerville, Chelsea, and Revere – put together.
Even I Recognize the Problem and the Opportunity
I’m no real estate expert, but even I recognize that’s a mighty big hill for us to climb. Success will depend on all of us pulling together, as well as on aggressive activity by hundreds of developers, flexibility from our many local zoning boards, and heavy investments by all levels of government to provide all the water, sewer, parking, and transit services our new neighbors are going to require.
During the report, I couldn’t help but notice the sign we built for The Blackstone, at one point almost filling the TV screen. I felt a surge of pride not only for the work we’d done on that project, but for the opportunity we’ve had to play our (admittedly small) part in the Boston metropolitan area’s overall effort to sustain ourselves, and to make the future even better than we’ve made the past and present.
Thank you, Boston, for the chance to be part of – and to do our part for – such a great community.
Listen to the NECN report here.