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Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance;
After a pause during the Great Recession, housing costs began rising again as the shortage of homes identified in 2001 began to widen. In some degree, this is because of nationwide changes that have increased demand for apartments and homes on small lots, especially in walkable, transit-connected places. But Greater Boston is also a victim of its own success. The many attractive characteristics of our region are drawing new households by the thousands. Young adults are forming new families and older residents are less likely to flee to Florida and Arizona. Overall, the population of the region is growing – in fact, Massachusetts is the fastest growing state in the Northeast. The disinvestment and population declines of earlier decades have been reversed, and the benefits are overwhelmingly positive. But, if housing supply cannot keep up with demand, these gains could be lost.
From 2010 to 2017, the Metropolitan Boston region added 245,000 new jobs, a 14 percent increase. Yet according to the best data available, cities and towns permitted only 71,600 housing units over that same time period, growth of only 5.2 percent. When supply of new housing does not keep pace with the growing demand created by new workers and young adults forming new households, there is more competition for the existing units. Low rental vacancy rates (just above half of normal) and low for-sale inventory (just above a third of normal) make it a landlord and sellers' market, allowing them to charge top dollar to the highest bidder. Continued demand for labor, driven by economic growth and the retirement of the Baby Boomers is likely to continue driving strong population growth and housing demand well into the future. Compounding the issue is the fact that Baby Boomers will continue to need housing well after they retire, but are stuck in large single family homes because there are very few affordable options to downsize.
For more information: https://ma-smartgrowth.org/resources/resourcesreports-books/
A challenge for artists and funders in this intersectional work is to advance both aesthetic and community aims. How do programs balance community development needs and goals with opportunities for artists to experiment? What kinds of supports are needed to help community partners, crucial to the impact of the work, fully engage with artists? What services best support artists who are building their capacity for public realm production and community engagement? What funding strategies and practice standards help ensure projects that meet high marks for both aesthetic achievement and community value?
In the spirit of advancing field dialogue in this arena, Americans for the Arts and the Barr Foundation are happy to share the findings of a National Scan of Programs Supporting Art in the Public Realm. The scan, while not intended to be comprehensive, highlights overarching themes and offers snapshots of 30 programs supporting and building capacity for artists to work in the public realm. Detailed summaries from interviews with seven selected programs provide additional insights.
This scan was conducted to inform future directions of the New England Foundation for the Arts' (NEFA) Creative City program. Creative City's pilot phase offered direct support for artists at varied stages of experience and career to exercise their creative power to excite the public imagination and engage Boston's diverse communities. A report on Creative City's pilot phase and videos highlighting its value and impact in Boston can be found at: nefa.org/CreativeCityLearning.
Boston Green Ribbon Commission;
This Carbon Free Boston: Social Equity Report provides a deeper equity context for Carbon Free Boston as a whole, and for each strategy area, by demonstrating how inequitable and unjust the playing field is for socially vulnerable Bostonians and why equity must be integrated into policy design and implementation. This report summarizes the current landscape of climate action work for each strategy area and evaluates how it currently impacts inequity. Finally, this report provides guidance to the City and partners on how to do better; it lays out the attributes of an equitable approach to carbon-neutrality, framed around three guiding principles:
1) plan carefully to avoid unintended consequences
2) be intentional in design through a clear equity lens
3) practice inclusivity from start to finish.
Boston Green Ribbon Commission;
Carbon Free Boston was developed through comprehensive engagement with City staff, utilities, neighboring municipalities, regional authorities, state agencies, industry experts, and community representatives, among others, and was supported by comprehensive analysis using models that project feasible pathways to carbon neutrality by 2050. To ensure meaningful and actionable outcomes, we looked across scales and considered opportunities and challenges associated with specific actions at the city, state, and regional levels. We also addressed disparities in communities' capacity both to mitigate climate damages and to benefit from the transition to a carbon-neutral city.
Supporting technical reports and other resources are also available on the project web site: http://sites.bu.edu/cfb/
Technical Development Corp (TDC);
This document provides an overview of a financial health evaluation TDC conducted in 2017 to capture the financial health trends of a Boston-based cohort of arts organizations who participated in the Barr-Klarman Arts Capacity Building Initiative (2012-2017), a joint grant program of the Barr Foundation and The Klarman Family Foundation. TDC's financial health evaluation was designed to impart a clear financial picture of the cohort at the program's end, as well as complement the qualitative evaluation of the Initiative (2016-2017) led by Diane Espaldon and Sara Peterson.
The financial health evaluation measured the growth and scale of grantees' operations over the course of the Initiative; assessed cumulative financial health; and observed capitalization literacy. TDC evaluators provided each grantee with a capitalization assessment reflecting their organization's balance sheet and income statement trends over the course of the program. Grantees subsequently participated in a follow-up phone interview with TDC to discuss their financial results, and answer questions regarding the impact of the Initiative's capitalization training program on their strategic decision-making and financial goal-setting. With a sample of 30 organizations, TDC evaluated grantee financial performance in the context of each organization's individual goals, not against a cohort-wide benchmark. Cohort-wide trends were elicited from an aggregation of individual performance.
This summary document provides an overview of the Initiative's capitalization program, the capitalization framework TDC employed, and high-level results from the financial health evaluation.
Boston Harbor Now;
Boston Harbor Now (BHN) is coordinating a strategic planning study for water transportation, the Comprehensive Boston Water Transportation Study and Business Plan (the Comprehensive Plan). This work is being done on behalf of and with financial support from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), the Seaport Economic Council of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED), Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA), the Barr Foundation, the Cabot Family Charitable Trust, Envoy Hotel, and Clippership Wharf. The aim of the work is to create the foundation for an expansion of the current water transportation system in Boston Harbor within a one- to five-year timeframe in order to accommodate current and future developments in the region and to enhance the use of the leisure and cultural amenities in Boston Harbor as well as providing an additional transit option for trips in the region.
This document is the third deliverable for the Comprehensive Plan. It focuses on the key characteristics of a ferry system that contribute to a successful service. This includes is a critical review of the strength and weaknesses of comparable ferry services with identified best practices and lessons learned for system implementation, organization, and operations with examples from systems in the continental United States as well as several systems from other countries. Five ferry systems are profiled in short case studies at the end of this document.
The document is structured to present the summary of these key characteristics of successful ferry services with healthy ridership, revenues, overall financial stability, and expanded transportation access, among other factors. A separate document prepared for the Water Transportation Strategy for the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park will outline best practices for serving island parks with ferries.
For further information, please visit: https://www.bostonharbornow.org/what-we-do/work/water-transportation/water-transportation-study/
National Voices Project, University of Michigan;
With support and collaboration from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation through the America Healing initiative, researchers at the University of Michigan are leading the National Voices Project (NVP) from 2011-2015. The central goals of the NVP are to examine the sources of racial/ethnic inequity and other disparities for children in the United States today, identify interventions that address disparities effectively, and inform the public dialogue about racial healing and racial equality. The NVP offers a fresh perspective on community-level opportunities for children throughout the country, in the domains of health and nutrition, education, and economic security -- through the eyes of adults whose work and volunteer efforts affect such opportunities. In other words, the NVP reflects the perceptions of individuals throughout the United States who are in a position to improve children's opportunities in the future. The questionnaire for NVP Survey 2 was developed by the National Voices Project team at the University of Michigan, with input from WKKF collaborators. We examined how individuals who work or volunteer with children view opportunities for education, health and healthcare, and economic well-being related to children and adolescents. Many of the questions were identical to questions fielded for NVP Survey 1 in 2011, to facilitate comparisons of responses across these different samples and over time. New questions in NVP Survey 2 centered on respondents' perceptions of segregation and inequities in the communities they know best, and on respondents' awareness about efforts to bridge racial/ethnic inequities in those communities.