Build up or pay up.
That is the message Massachusetts is sending to 175 cities and suburbs in the Boston area, as a bill passed last year to boost housing production begins to take effect. Almost every jurisdiction in eastern Massachusetts, from the New Hampshire border to Worcester to the Cape Cod Canal, will have to do its part zoning for 344,000 new units of as-of-right multifamily housing—or lose access to some state grant programs. That means allowing apartments in many tony subdivisions currently reserved for single-family homes.
For perspective, all of Massachusetts currently builds just 15,000 new units a year—a huge drop-off from the 20th century and one reason that the Boston area has some of the highest rents and home prices in the country. “Massachusetts is the first state to actually get a policy like this,” said Jessie Grogan at the Cambridge-based Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. “Are the incentives strong enough? Probably not. But it will have some impact, and more than the other housing tools we’ve tried.”
Can You Force the Suburbs to Build Apartments? Massachusetts Is Trying.
Even if some towns “have to go kicking and screaming.”
BY HENRY GRABAR
The estimated population of Massachusetts is 6,984,723
We, the 20,000 textile workers of Lawrence, are out on strike for the right to live free from slavery and starvation; free from overwork and underpay; free from a state of affairs that had become so unbearable and beyond our control, that we were compelled to march out of the slave pens of Lawrence in united resistance against the wrongs and injustice of years and years of wage slavery.
In our fight we have suffered and borne patiently the abuse and calumnies of the mill owners, the city government, police, militia, State government, legislature, and the local police court judge. We feel that in justice to our fellow workers we should at this time make known the causes which compelled us to strike against the mill owners of Lawrence. We hold that as useful members of society and as wealth producers we have the right to lead decent and honorable lives; that we ought to have homes and not shacks; that we ought to have clean food and not adulterated food at high prices; that we ought to have clothes suited to the weather and not shoddy garments. That to secure sufficient food, clothing and shelter in a society made up of a robber class on the one hand and a working class on the other hand, it is absolutely necessary for the toilers to band themselves together and form a union, organizing its powers in such form as to them seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
Voices of a People’s History of the United States
Howard Zinn, Anthony Arnove
One of the most dramatic labor struggles in American history took place in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1912 when textile workers, mostly women, European immigrants speaking a dozen different languages, carried on a strike during the bitterly cold months of January to March 1912. Despite police violence and hunger, they persisted, and were victorious against the powerful textile mill owners. Borrowing from the U.S. Declaration of Independence, the following strike declaration, issued by the workers of Lawrence, was translated into the many languages of the immigrant textile workers in Massachusetts and circulated around the world.