News & Updates

What is “inclusionary development” and how can I learn more?

Jan 26, 2016

Boston’s Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP) has created almost 2,300 income restricted housing units in Boston since it was enacted in 2000. Under this policy, developers of buildings with ten or more units seeking zoning relief or building on City of Boston owned land are required to set aside a percentage of their units (currently 13%) as affordable to moderate- to middle-income households. Units can be rental or homeownership. The term “inclusionary” is used because the goal is to encourage developers to include income restricted units in their buildings, substantially adding to Boston’s affordable housing resources, especially in neighborhoods where a lot of development is occurring. During 2015, of the new, income restricted units created in Boston, over half were created through this program.

In addition to including the units on-site, under limited circumstances, developers can create the units off-site, or contribute to a fund that helps to create affordable units. Through these contributions, 1,597 affordable housing units have been created, spread across Boston.

In December 2015, Mayor Martin J. Walsh signed an Executive Order that revised Inclusionary Development requirements, and the Boston Redevelopment Authority, working closely with the City’s Department of Neighborhood Development updated its Inclusionary Development Policy. Among the most important changes:
  • Because housing values are so different across Boston’s neighborhoods, three zones were established, with somewhat different requirements. While the on-site requirements remains the same across the city, developers face different requirements in each zone related to off-site units or contributions to the Inclusionary Development Policy Fund.
  • Off-site development requirements increased in high-value and middle-value neighborhoods (Zones A and B).
  • The contribution per unit increased from a minimum of $200,000 citywide to $300,000 in middle-value neighborhoods (Zone B) and $380,000 in high value neighborhoods (Zone A).
More information about the policy can be found in the Key Documents section on the BRA's Housing page, or come to one of our upcoming open houses/informational sessions, which are open to anyone who would like to attend. There will be a brief presentation, a question and answer period, as well as more informal time to ask BRA staff about the policy.

Inclusionary Development Information Sessions:

Monday, February 8, 2016, 5:30 to 7:30 PM OR Wednesday, February 17, 2016, 5:30 to 7:30 PM
Location: BRA Board Room, Room 900, Boston City Hall, One City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA 02201
Contact Name: Tim Davis
Contact Email Address:
Contact Phone: 617.918.4302

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