Climate and Housing Crisis
Housing unaffordability and climate change adversely affect the lives of Boston area residents. These crises are amplified by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and are especially salient for low- and moderate-income people and people of color. However, there is not currently an established body of academic research, municipal plans or an advocacy agenda that addresses these crises systematically and simultaneously. This paper proposes a research agenda that does so in a way that is equitable, centered on the needs of those who are most affected by the housing and climate crises, rooted in empirical and primary analysis, reflects a critical approach, and accommodates diverse analytic methods and disciplinary traditions. This transdisciplinary research agenda is based on four resources: key informant interviews, a review of the academic and practice literature, a resident-focused public event, and an expert-attended event. Our analysis of these resources has helped us better understand how the housing and climate crises intersect, what these intersecting crises mean to the experiences of diverse stakeholders, and how responses to specific research questions may support development of a range of policy and planning responses.
• Prominent themes: the need for affordable and sustainable housing development strategies that reflect the resources and values of vulnerable communities; the need to adapt analytic methods or develop new ones to assist practitioners in designing affordable and sustainable housing development strategies; and the need for academics, practitioners, advocates, and community members to better communicate among each other to develop common responses to the housing and climate crises.
• Key research questions: What community characteristics support successful implementation of residential development projects that are affordable and sustainable? How can a social cost-benefit analysis quantify social and environmental impacts so that projects that are not financially feasible using conventional metrics can be attractive? How can analytic methods be used to yield insights into designing policy instruments?