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Last updated: 8/25/17

Housing Innovation Lab

The Housing Innovation Lab was created to serve the needs of Boston’s current and future residents. We're pioneering innovative housing models and systems. We're also 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!

BOSTON, MA 02108-2501
Office hours

We want to hear from you! We are always eager to hear new ideas and we work hard to find ways to foster the great ones. Sign up to chat with us during our office hours held every Thursday afternoon.

The opportunity

There is both internal and external momentum to make an impact. In 2014, with the release of Housing A Changing City: Boston 2030, Boston’s Mayor, Martin J. Walsh, called for the creation of a Housing Innovation Lab. Mayor Walsh recognized a need for exploration and acceleration in the housing field to help the City address its growing need.

With start up funding from a Bloomberg Philanthropies Innovation Team grant, the Department of Neighborhood Development and the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics partnered to establish the Housing Innovation Lab to tackle the challenge of keeping Boston affordable to all households.

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.
  • We want to hear from you! We are always eager to hear new ideas and we work hard to find ways to foster the great ones. Sign up to chat with us during our office hours held every Thursday afternoon.

News and announcements

housing innovation lab
Dec 15

City announces advisory committee for housing innovation competition

New Urban Mechanics
housing innovation lab
Nov 7

Housing Innovation Lab office hours every Thursday from 1 - 4 p.m.

Neighborhood Development
Urban Housing Unit
Nov 4

City launches housing innovation competition for compact living units

Neighborhood Development

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