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We collect, interpret
& share data

to improve state policy, foster effective community conversations and ensure that we meet our housing needs throughout Massachusetts.

The Data Feed

Our latest analyses of housing stats, migration trends, other related data and policy topics as well as anything we find interesting from our fellow data geeks.

DataTown

DataTown is the Center for Housing Data’s new interactive website. DataTown compiles community-level information for all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns, and visualizes that data in graphics and charts that are easy to understand, print out and bring to a community discussion. DataTown allows you to download the underlying data as well. And we've just added a new feature - the ability to create graphics that compare communities!

We built DataTown for you so check it out at mhp.net/datatown, and email lmunson@mhp.net with what you loved and how we can make it better.

Check out TODEX

It's short for Transit-Oriented Development Explorer and we've developed a user-friendly tool that allows you to review densities at all 261 Greater Boston transit stations and picture the great opportunity we have to build more housing and reduce traffic congestion. Initial findings include: the median across all station areas is roughly 6.2 homes per acre, with most of the highest density areas located along rapid transit lines in the City of Boston and a handful of inner core communities, and most of the lowest density areas located along the commuter rail. Commuter rail station areas had a median of 2.8 homes per acre, rapid transit station areas had a median of 13.1 homes per acre, and light rail/bus (silver, green line, and Mattapan trolley) stations had a median of 15.2 homes per acre.

Policy Archive

To foster a deeper understanding of housing and its relationship to economic growth, we maintain a library of resources which including our own reports, recent news releases and related studies and articles on housing and growth from around the U.S.

MHP comments on proposed MBTA service reductions

BOSTON, Dec. 4, 2020, --- MHP Executive Director Clark Ziegler submitted written comments on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's proposed service reductions. "MHP is concerned that the proposed service cuts -- even if reversed at a later date -- would undermine decades of state policy to promote housing development near transit," wrote Ziegler.

COVID Community Data Lab

Since May, MHP's Center for Housing Data has been doing analysis for the COVID Community Data Lab, an initiative of Boston Indicators, the research arm of The Boston Foundation. MHP has been tracking housing stability metrics such as housing vacancies, rent prices, ability to pay and most recently the rise in evictions to pre-pandemic levels since the end of the state's moratorium. Check here for the lab's latest report on the pandemic's impact and policy proposals aimed at achieving an inclusive recovery.

Research brief & Transit-Oriented Development Explorer (TODEX)

Launched in Dec. 2019, MHP's Transit-Oriented Developer Explorer (TODEX) is a detailed research brief and an interesting, easy-to-use housing density transit station locator map rolled into one. Envisioned by MHP Director of Research and Analytics Tom Hopper, the research brief explains the new methodology that was used to estimate the number of homes around transit stops while the mapping tool allows users to see housing densities at all 261 Greater Boston transit stops. One conclusion - which we sometimes call a thought experiment - is that if we increased density at all transit stops to 10 units per acre, we'd net about 250,000 more units.

Maze of zoning regulations amounts to a paper wall that blocks housing

In a 2019 study MHP helped fund, researcher Amy Dain examined zoning codes and housing plans in 100 Eastern Mass. municipalities and found a maze of regulations that she said amounts to a "paper wall" that more often than not serves to block multifamily housing even when it is nominally permitted by zoning. Dain also found that very little land is zoned for multi-family housing, and what is zoned for multifamily is often built out to the capacity, leaving little room for growth.

Who Participates in Local Government? Evidence from Meeting Minutes

One of the Center for Housing Data's favorites is this 2017 study by Katherine Levine Einstein, Maxwell Palmer and David Glick. The researchers combed three years worth of meeting minutes from 97 cities and towns in the region, and found nearly two-thirds of residents who stood up to speak about proposed housing developments did so to oppose them, while just 14 percent spoke in support. You could call this the appetizer study to Amy Dain's 2019 study that suggested that the maze of zoning regulations in communities around Greater Boston amounts to a paper wall that more often than not discourages multifamily development.

The Color of Wealth in Boston

The study was done in 2015 but the data in it is still often used as a lead anecdote to illustrate how decades of systemic racism has put people of color - and especially Blacks - behind the eight ball when it comes to net worth. The study by the Boston Fed, Duke University found that the median net worth for non-immigrant African-American households in the Greater Boston region is $8 while the median net worth for Greater Boston whites is $247,500. The data disparity was brought to light in the 2017 Boston Globe's award-winning seven-part series on race.

Contact Us

Calandra Clark, Director of Policy

Calandra Clark

Director of Policy

Calandra (Callie) Clark joined MHP’s public affairs staff in 2008 and worked in policy analysis, research, messaging and communication strategy. In early 2017 she became Co-Director of MHP’s newly created Center for Housing Data and in 2019 became the Director of Policy.

Callie has extensive experience in policy analysis and web strategy and in crafting presentations for legislators, local public officials and other public audiences. She has a bachelor’s degree in international development from Clark University and a master’s degree in urban and regional policy from Northeastern University.

| 857-317-8524

Tom Hopper, Director of Research & Analytics

Tom Hopper

Director of Research & Analytics

Tom Hopper joined MHP in 2006 and worked in risk management, operations and analytical development over the next decade. In early 2017 he became Co-Director of MHP’s newly created Center for Housing Data and in 2019 became Director of Research & Analytics.

Tom has developed database systems, designed metrics, and created data tools and analytical reports that provide insight into project financial performance, credit quality, and risk management. He has led public policy research efforts on topics such as transit-oriented development, housing production, land use, gentrification and housing costs. Tom has a bachelor’s degree in economics, a master’s degree in city planning from Boston University, and a master’s degree in urban informatics from Northeastern University.

| 857-317-8561

Contributors: Ruston Lodi, Clark Ziegler and Lucas Munson

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