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Ideas Worth Stealing: Inclusionary Zoning To Grow Affordable Housing

Michael Dwyer
AP Photo

  In Boston, any residential development that includes 10 or more units, receives financing from the city, is on city property, or requires an exception to current zoning regulations must designate 15 percent of market rate units as affordable housing.

The Inclusionary Development Policy was first implemented in 2000.

In some cases, developers can choose to build affordable units at a different site, where the number of required units can go up to 18 percent of the total. The Boston Redevelopment Authority can also permit a developer to make a cash payment instead of building units. That contribution, up to $380,000 per unit depending on where in the city the development is located, goes to a fund for affordable housing.     

The policy is primarily aimed not at assisting very low-income people, but at retaining middle class residents in booming sections of the city.

Read the full version of this report at Keystone Crossroads' websiteKeystone Crossroads is a new statewide public media initiative reporting on the challenges facing Pennsylvania's cities. WPSU is a participating station.

Irina Zhorov was WESA’s reporter for Keystone Crossroads, a statewide public media initiative focused on issues in older Pennsylvania communities.