Spitzer Chair in the News

Could suburban strip malls be the solution to Massachusetts’ housing shortage? — Spitzer chair, June Williamson, says YES.

“I’m an ardent advocate for the transformation or retrofitting of the unsustainable and non-resilient, sprawling, inefficient and increasingly obsolete suburbanized landscapes of Northern America,” said Williamson at a (MAPC) Metropolitan Area Planning Council meeting.

New research recently released by MAPC tackled this very question, with eye-opening results. Their analysis found that re-developing just 10% of the state’s smaller suburban strip malls into mixed-use projects, could create 124,000 homes and generate $479 million in extra tax revenue for host communities. In total, the group found over 3,000 potential sites that sit on almost 14 square miles, with the average city or town within the metro Boston area hosting 71 acres of land dedicated to strip malls. Almost 900 of the potential sites also happen to sit near MBTA transit, making them ideal locations for a promising new community.

June reported her findings in her recent award-winning book “Case Studies in Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Strategies for Urgent Challenges”, co-authored with Georgia Tech urban design program director Ellen Dunham-Jones.

Read the Boston Harald article here.

See the full analysis by the MAPC here.