Welcome to our neighborhood: A Manifesto for Inclusivity

What Todd Litman said over on Planetizen about a month ago: Welcome to our neighborhood: A Manifesto for Inclusivity.

Key concept: An “affordable” neighborhood isn’t just about housing cost as a share of your income. It’s really about housing plus transportation costs. You can afford to pay more for where you live if where you live lets you get around for less — by foot, bike, or transit.

And his response to the commenter is worth citing as well: “There are few better sustainability strategies, which help achieve economic, social and environmental goals together, than to ensure that every household can find an affordable house in an accessible, walkable neighborhood. Everybody wins!”

What will Roslindale look like in 2030? Who will be living, working, and playing here? How will they come and go, and how will they get around once they’re here?

These are questions that two massive city-wide planning efforts are trying to answer. On the first couple of questions, Imagine Boston is the first comprehenisve master plan the city has even attempted in the last 50 years. Go Boston 2030 is the city’s new transportation planning process dealing with the second set of questions.

We are standing at a crossroads as a city. What direction will we take in welcoming our new neighbors, business owners and employees, and visitors? How will these new planning efforts be steered in Roslindale? Will we make our community more walkable and bikeable and livable in the process? In the next 18 months or so, the course to 2030 will be largely set. Now is the time to get involved. What ideas do we want to put on the table? This conversation is critical to our future, and we’re reminded by the last post about why that really is.

Why “Walk UP?”

The term comes from Chris Leinberger at the Brookings Institution and his most recent set of studies about the demonstrable value premium that the real estate market is attaching to “Walkable Urban Places” or “WalkUPs.” To paraphrase Leinberger’s March 2015 report on WalkUPs in the Boston region (the “WalkUP Wake Up Call – Boston” – available online here), a “Walkable Urban Place” is a place characterized by

  • Realtively high intensity of development with
  • Multiple and vertically/horizontally mixed uses (housing, office, retail, recreation, education, etc.) located in close proximity to one another,
  • Employing multiple modes of transportation (walking, bicycling, transit, and automobiles) that get people and goods to the place, and
  • Walkability once you’re there.

In other words, Roslindale Square and the neighborhood that surrounds it.

Between the Walsh Administration’s recent housing report predicting 70,000 new residents needing 53,000 new housing units of all kinds by 2030 and the increasing concentration of new development of all kinds in WalkUPs that Leinberger is forecasting, we are going to see real growth and significant development pressure in Roslindale in the next decade and a half.

WalkUP Roslindale seeks to be a gathering place for those who welcome this new wave of development but know that it has to be done right so that our neighborhood becomes even more livable. Thanks for stopping in!