Public Event

Zoned Out: Why Massachusetts Needs to Legalize Apartments Near Transit


October 21, 2020

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM




At its best, Greater Boston is a thriving region where we pair a strong economy with proactive government supports to help ensure opportunity for all, regardless of race or income. Housing is one area where we fall far short of our potential. Too many cities and towns restrict the dynamic functioning of the housing market by allowing construction only of large, expensive homes, while state and federal governments don’t do nearly enough to provide financial support to lower-income families. We can and must do better. Addressing these varied housing challenges will require a wide range of sustained solutions, largely along two paths: 1) building much more housing at accessible price points; and 2) providing significantly more public subsidy for low-income housing supports.

This event marks the release of a new report by Boston Indicators and Brookings that proposes one big, yet also relatively simple, idea for helping on the home building front: adopting a statewide policy to legalize low- to mid-rise multifamily housing (e.g., townhomes, duplexes, small apartment buildings) near transit. 

The event will feature presentations from two of the paper’s co-authors, Luc Schuster, Director of Boston Indicators, and Jenny Schuetz, Fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. A panel discussion will follow including people involved in efforts to legalize modest multifamily housing in other parts of the U.S.. Over the past two years, states and localities, including Oregon, California and Minneapolis have pursued zoning reform through political organizing and diverse coalition-building, which can offer some lessons for Massachusetts.

Stephen Chan, Vice President of Strategy & Operations, The Boston Foundation

Data Presentation
Jenny Schuetz, Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings
Luc Schuster, Director, Boston Indicators

Discussion and Q&A
Janelle Chan, Senior Policy Fellow, Massachusetts Housing Partnership; Former Undersecretary, Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development
Jarred Johnson, Director & Chief Operating Officer, TransitMatters; Board Member, Abundant Housing Massachusetts
Luc Schuster, Director, Boston Indicators (Moderator)
Taylor Smiley Wolfe, Director of Policy & Planning, Home Forward; Former Policy Director, Office of Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek

The Boston Foundation logo
Boston Indicators logo


A live stream link will be sent after registration, prior to the event. 

By working in collaboration with a wide range of partners, the Boston Foundation provides opportunities for people to come together to explore challenges facing our constantly changing community and to develop an informed civic agenda. All of the Boston Foundation's civic leadership activities are supported by our Annual Campaign for Civic Leadership.

For additional information, or to register by phone or email, please contact Michelle Hinkle at: