Contributing Editors

Jerome Lyle Rappaport

Jerome Lyle Rappaport
Founder and Board Member
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Edward Glaeser

Edward Glaeser
Professor of Economics at Harvard University
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Stephen P. Johnson

Stephen P. Johnson
Executive Director of Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation
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Greg Massing

Greg Massing
Executive Director for the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service
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Alasdair Roberts

Alasdair Roberts
Professor of Law and Public Policy at Suffolk University Law School
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Joseph Curtatone

Joseph Curtatone
Mayor, City of Somerville
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Tim H. Davis

Tim H. Davis
Independent Research Consultant
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Scott Harshbarger

Scott Harshbarger
Senior Counsel, Proskauer Rose LLP
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Vivien Li

Vivien Li
Executive Director of The Boston Harbor Association
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Guest contributors

Monika Bandyopadhyay
Suffolk University Law Student

David Barron
Harvard Law School and former Deputy Counsel for the Office of Legal Counsel in the US Department of Justice

Linda Bilmes
Senior lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Assistant Secretary of Commerce during the Clinton Administration.

Brandy H.M. Brooks
Director, Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence, Bruner Foundation

Felicia Cote
Rappaport Fellow, Harvard Law School/Harvard Kennedy School.

Amanda Eden
Suffolk University Law School student

Sara Farnum
Student, Suffolk Univ. Law School

Kristin Faucette
Student at Suffolk University Law School

Benjamin Forman
Research Director, MassINC

Arthur Hardy-Doubleday
JD/MBA student at Suffolk University Law School and the Sawyer School of Business

Theodore Kalivas
Boston Green Blog, Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy

David Linhart
Student, Boston University School of Law

Antoniya Owens
Research Analyst, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Susan Prosnitz
Senior Advisor, TSA, Washington, DC

Ben Thomas
Boston Green Blog, Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy

Matthew Todaro
Student at Boston College Law School

Alexander von Hoffman
Senior Researcher, Joint Center for Housing Studies

Brett Walker
Student, Boston College Law School

Margarita Warren
Student at Suffolk University Law School

Articles by Alexander von Hoffman

To Preserve and Protect: Land Use Regulations in Weston, Massachusetts

Friday, December 10th, 2010
By Alexander von Hoffman

In the 1990s, Edward and Polly Dickson, life-long and prominent residents of Massachusetts’ most affluent town, decided to ensure that people of diverse incomes could live in their community. Next to their own house they proposed to build eighteen single-family houses, several of which would be affordable to low- and middle-income households. They proceeded cautiously so as not to raise opposition to their plans. They hired a nonprofit, as opposed to a private, developer; they chose an architectural firm with experience in high-end suburban communities; they chose an expensive and popular landscape designer. The plan called for placing houses around a large open green space in such a way that they would be visible only from the single road that bordered the site. The Dicksons lined up support among their many friends and persuaded the town selectmen to back the project. They chose to pursue the project through the process created by the state statute called 40B, which avoided the normally difficult and time-consuming procedures of local approval. Despite all this effort, their neighbors banded together and threatened lawsuits to stop the project while members of the town’s planning board, invited as a courtesy to consult on the project, seemed determined to delay the project to the point of collapse. What sort of community could generate objections to the construction of eighteen innocuous-looking houses for families of mixed incomes visible only and just barely from a single road? The answer lies in the particular and singular history of that community, Weston, Massachusetts. But it also explains the processes at work in other towns not nearly as wealthy as Weston.

This working paper is part of the research project, The Evolution of Residential Land Use Regulation in Greater Boston, carried out under the auspices of Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies and the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston. The goals of this project are to identify and understand the reasons that towns and cities in eastern Massachusetts have made Greater Boston a highly regulated urban region and to help devise residential planning policies that advance general, rather than parochial, interests, and what some call "Smart Growth." In particular, the project aims to discover precisely why and under what circumstances particular communities adopted residential land use regulations by studying the evolution of regulations in residential real estate development in four different Boston-area communities and in the legal interpretation of the state laws of Massachusetts. 

For the full text of this article click here.

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Former Lt. Governor Kerry Healey speaks about political parity at the Rappaport Center
Gov. Deval Patrick speaking at the Rappaport Center's Gubernatorial Speakers Series
HKS Professor Jeffrey Liebman (left) spoke about new ways to spur policy innovation at a State House briefing sponsored by State Representative (and former Rappaport Urban Scholar) Charles Murphy (right).

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