Addressing Boston’s Housing Crisis

THU, OCT 27, 2022

For a recent graduate Greater Boston – which routinely ranks among the most expensive areas of the United States for housing – can seem a daunting place to lay down roots and launch a career. In significant part this is because the region does not build enough housing to meet demand, pushing costs upward. Communities around Boston make it incredibly difficult to build apartments and other less-expensive housing options. Much of the land in these communities is restricted to single-family homes, often on very large lots. These practices contribute to high housing costs, residential segregation, significant inequities in access to quality education, and residential construction that is often far from public transportation, exacerbating negative environmental effects. Why is this the case? How can it be changed? And what role can graduate students and young professionals play in advocating for such change both locally and at the state level?

Join Abundant Housing Massachusetts and Suffolk University Law School for a panel featuring national experts on housing, zoning, and local government. Professor Vicki Been of New York University School of Law previously served as Deputy Mayor of Housing and Economic Development for the City of New York and will speak on possibilities for reform at the city and state level. Professor Anika Singh Lemar leads the Community and Economic Development clinic at Yale Law School and will discuss her work with affordable housing developers to bring needed housing to communities throughout Connecticut. Maxwell Palmer, a Professor of Political Science at Boston University, will discuss his groundbreaking research examining who participates in local land use decision making and how homeowners entrench their own interests by opposing new housing. Jenny Schuetz is a Senior Fellow at Brookings Metro. An expert in urban economics and housing policy, she will discuss how statewide zoning reform could improve housing affordability and more.

+ BIO: Vicki Been

Vicki Been is the Judge Edward Weinfeld Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, an Affiliated Professor of Public Policy of the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a Faculty Director of NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. Prof. Been returned to NYU in January, 2022, after serving as Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development of the City of New York from May, 2019 to December 2021.

From 2014 until 2017, Professor Been served as Commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development for the City of New York. Professor Been, who has been on the faculty at NYU since 1990, focuses her scholarship on the intersection of land use, urban policy and housing. Been is a 1983 graduate of New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden Scholar. She clerked for Judge Edward Weinfeld of the Southern District of New York and for Justice Harry Blackmun of the Supreme Court of the United States.

+ BIO: Anika Singh Lemar

Anika Singh Lemar is a Clinical Professor at Yale Law School where she teaches the Community and Economic Development clinic (CED). CED’s clients include affordable housing developers, small businesses, community development financial institutions, farms and farmer’s markets, fair housing advocates, cooperatives, and neighborhood associations. Professor Lemar writes about land use, zoning, and affordable housing. She is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the American Bar Association’s Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Brookings Institute’s Metropolitan Policy Project.

Professor Lemar previously practiced real estate law at a Connecticut law firm. She began her career as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Janet C. Hall of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut and, later, as a Skadden Fellow and Staff Attorney at the Community Development Project of the Urban Justice Center in New York. Professor Lemar received her B.A. from Yale University and her J.D., from New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar.

+ BIO: Jenny Schuetz

Jenny Schuetz is a Senior Fellow at Brookings Metro, and is an expert in urban economics and housing policy. Dr. Schuetz has written numerous peer-reviewed journal articles on land use regulation, housing prices, urban amenities, and neighborhood change. She is the author of Fixer Upper: How to Repair America’s Broken Housing Systems.

Topics of recent research include: how statewide zoning reform could improve housing affordability; local strategies to help renters during the COVID-19 crisis; rethinking homeownership incentives to narrow the racial wealth gap; and how housing costs exacerbate economic and racial segregation.Before joining Brookings, Dr. Schuetz served as a principal economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Dr. Schuetz was also an assistant professor at the University of Southern California and a post-doctoral fellow at NYU Furman. Dr. Schuetz earned a PhD in public policy from Harvard University, a master’s in city planning from M.I.T., and a B.A. with Highest Distinction

+ BIO: Maxwell Palmer

Maxwell Palmer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Boston University, the Director of Advanced Programs (BA/MA and the Honors Program), and a Civic Tech Fellow in the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences, and a Faculty Fellow at the Initiative on Cities. He joined the Department and Boston University in 2014, after receiving his Ph.D. in Political Science at Harvard University. He studies study American political institutions, including Congress, electoral institutions, and local political institutions, with a particularly focus on how institutional arrangements and rules impact representation and policy outcomes.

Prof. Palmer also work as a consultant and expert witness on questions about voting rights, redistricting, and representation. Prof. Palmer’s current projects examine the local politics of housing and methods for analyzing redistricting plans. Prof. Palmer is also a co-principal investigator of the Menino Survey of Mayors.

+ BIO: Molly Goodman

Molly Goodman is the Board President of Abundant Housing Massachusetts. She has dedicated her career to supporting affordable housing and homeownership for low- and moderate-income residents of MA, serving as the Manager of Counseling and Homeownership for Allston-Brighton Community Development Corporation, as a Graduate Fellow with the Brookline Housing Authority, and as a founding board member and Clerk of Abundant Housing.

Molly’s career in public service began in 2014 as a Foreclosure Prevention Associate with Urban Edge, under a program of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Community Based Home Corps. Molly received her JD from Suffolk University Law School, where she also served as a Research Assistant to Professor Kathleen Engel for three semesters. She is a current member in good standing of the Massachusetts Bar and a graduate of Boston Latin School and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she earned a BA in history and legal studies.

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