Representation in the Housing Process: Best Practices for Improving Racial Equity

June 15, 2022

In Representation in the Housing Process: Best Practices for Racial Equity, Boston University professors Katherine Levine Einstein and Maxwell Palmer take a unique look at how Massachusetts housing policy is shaped by those with the time and access to take part - and the impact that has on bringing diverse voices to the table to address critical housing needs.

The researchers suggest the housing process as it stands reflects a system that lacks diversity and representation across multiple dimensions, including:

  • A lack of diversity on housing-related boards and commissions
  • Representational inequalities in political participation and public meetings
  • Processes that favor neighborhood opponents to new development over beneficiaries
  • Meeting and survey formats that don’t tap into the broadest range of voices
  • A lack of investment in time and resources to ensure surveys and other information reflect the full range of community feedback.

From there, Einstein and Palmer take a closer look at how two communities, Haverhill and Newton, considered ways to create more equitable processes - and the differences in perceptions of housing needs between the community at-large and the subset of individuals who take part in the traditional housing process.

Representation in the Housing Process report cover