Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



housing, Boston, Massachusetts, affordable housing, housing policy


Housing Law | Public Administration | Public Policy | Social Policy | State and Local Government Law | Urban Studies


Urban stagnation and turbulence, the roller-coaster trends In the national and local economy and the vicissitudes of national, state and local public policies have left their mark on Boston's residential neighborhoods and housing markets.

Boston's response to the new opportunities of public policy during the sixties and seventies was to take full advantage of urban renewal, assis ted-housing production and housing rehabilitation. Large-scale activities reshaped the occupancy patterns and market strengths of residential neighborhoods. By mid-1975, however, except for continuing growth in the City's subsidized housing stock, Boston's housing future looked bleak. There was pervasive evidence of a growing housing problem—physical neglect in public housing, exacerbated by major changes in tenant occupancy and acknowledged powerlessness of the tenant constituency to effect improvements; an increasing number of mortgage defaults, assignments or foreclosures in the large inventory of HUD-assisted multifamily rental housing; and the eroding effects on conventionally-financed private rental housing of rent regulation, inflation and high interest costs. Boston was experiencing relative stagnation in its housing markets. Residential property values in the strongest neighborhoods were barely able to keep pace with inflation while those in transitional and weak housing markets seemed to face an uncertain future.


This is a condensed version of a working paper prepared for The Boston Committee, Inc.


Boston Urban Observatory



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