Over recent years, housing and development has been the most contentious issue facing the city. In the fights over Austin St, 40B projects and Engine 6, opposing forces coalesced around seemingly contradictory ideas.
On one side proponents have been advocating for increases in housing with new construction, on the other side opponents have been trying to slow the new construction and tear-downs and maintain the current housing stock.
An ingenious new plan has just been proposed that hopes to bridge this intractable divide. The folks at the Roominghouse Initiative promise that we “can have our cake and eat it too”. With a few minor tweaks of the zoning code we’ll be able to encourage preservation of our existing housing stock, increase affordable housing and encourage a MUCH increased sense of community.
By lifting the limit on the number of unrelated adults who can live in a single house, we can “usher in a new golden age of roominghouses” says Roominghouse Initiative’s Ed Evansen. “Newton’s full of large beautiful homes in great neighborhoods that could easily house 20-25 folks living in a communal lifestyle.
“Not only will we preserve those beautiful old houses and increase the housing options” says Evansen. “There’s nothing better for fostering a shared sense of community than sharing a dinner table and a bathroom”.