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Housing Innovation Lab

We are working to increase housing affordability, by testing innovative housing models and accelerating the pace of innovation in the housing sector.

Boston is an incredible place to live — more and more people are coming to our City — and our projections tell us that we will reach over 700,000 people by 2030. However, this increased demand is leading to increased housing costs, which are in turn leading to rising displacement and evictions in our City. We want to ensure that the Boston of tomorrow doesn’t displace the Boston of today!

In 2014, with the release of Housing A Changing City: Boston 2030, former Mayor Martin J. Walsh called for the creation of a Housing Innovation Lab (iLab). The Mayor recognized a need for exploration and acceleration in the housing field to help the City address its growing housing needs. In 2015, with start up funding from a Bloomberg Philanthropies Innovation Team Grant the iLab was established and in 2017, the city committed funding to ensure the continuation of this work.

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BOSTON, MA 02108-2501
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Have a creative idea about housing that can improve the City? Let us know through email, or we can schedule a virtual brainstorm during upcoming office hours. We host 30-minute blocks every Tuesday, from 2 - 5 p.m. 

The approach

We’re expecting Boston’s population to number more than 700,000 residents by 2030.

“We must manage this growth to ensure that a bigger Boston is also a better Boston. We must plan for this growth, carefully balancing needed increases in density with open space and other amenities to ensure that quality of life in our neighborhoods remains high. Most importantly, we must ensure that this growth creates opportunities for people at all income levels.” — Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030

To do this, the Housing Innovation Lab:
  • Prioritizes people - put people at the center of our work.
  • Engages collaborators -  engage both internal and external partners to move the work forward.
  • Experiments early and often - take a prototype driven approach to policy making.


Our Fellowship Program

The Housing Innovation Fellowship is an immersion into the Housing Innovation Lab’s methodology.

Fellows help us explore, experiment, and expand new systems and models that can increase housing affordability in Boston.

Learn more

News and announcements

Image for Concepts sought for co-developing City assets with housing, other mixed uses

Concepts sought for co-developing City assets with housing, other mixed uses

Mayor's Office
Image for Mayor Walsh appointed Housing Chair for United States Conference of Mayors

Mayor Walsh appointed Housing Chair for United States Conference of Mayors

Mayor's Office
Image for mayor walsh with seniors

City launches Intergenerational Homeshare Pilot program

Age Strong Commission
Image for housing innovation lab

Housing Innovation Lab now a permanent office

New Urban Mechanics