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Would ‘Millennial Villages’ solve Boston’s housing crisis?

News Boston Cambridge
Millennials are overrunning the Greater Boston housing market and must be contained, argues the Massachusetts Special Senate Committee on Housing.
Millennials are overrunning the Greater Boston housing market and must be contained, argues the Massachusetts Special Senate Committee on Housing. John Tlumacki / Globe Staff

Millennials are overrunning Greater Boston, cramming together in multi-bedroom homes once inhabited by families, and raising prices for everyone. Instead, they should be contained in their own “Millennial Villages,” specially built complexes with tiny apartments and other design elements suited to the lifestyle of single students or young professionals.

This is essentially the argument laid out in part of a report – “Facing the Massachusetts Housing Crisis” – drawn up by a newly created group at the State House, the Special Senate Committee on Housing.

“Across the commonwealth, low rates of housing production have not kept pace with population growth and need,” state Sen. Linda Dorcena-Forry said Wednesday at the State House when the group announced its findings, WBUR reported.

“Millennial Villages,” as they are referred to in the report, would help to clear up other units in the city that historically were geared toward working families – such as triple deckers, duplexes, and garden apartments.

Units in a Millennial Village “would vary in affordability to accommodate all students, from the low income graduate student to the more well-heeled student and young professional,” suggests the report.

According to the report, millennials, people aged 20-34, have accounted for 73.9 percent of the population growth in the inner core of Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville between 2000 and 2008-2012.

The report continued:

“Not only has this driven up the price of triple decker units by 95 percent between 2009 and 2015, rents continue to rise sharply under this demand pressure. As a result, families in Greater Boston are being priced out of the rental market and cannot afford to buy into the condominium market in the older housing stock.”

The high cost of building new “family-size” housing in the area is yet another barrier the report mentioned.

The 30-page report proposed ideas to create housing, to help combat gentrification and homelessness, and to preserve and rehabilitate existing housing.

Read the full report here.