Middle Cities/ Urban

Massachusetts has 351 cities and towns—a constellation of communities ranging from small towns like Gosnold to major metropolises like Boston. But drawing comparisons between communities and getting a sense of how different municipal governments stack up has traditionally been very difficult. With the MassAnalysis data tool, created by the Pioneer Institute, it's possible to gain...
Massachusetts is commonly ranked one of the most expensive states in to live in, and recent housing market data indicates that isn’t likely to change any time soon. In June, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors (MAR) reported that the median price for a single family home had reached $430,000, an all-time high. The condominium market...
Amazon is the kind of company whose mere presence is enough to transform a city. Billions of dollars in investment, tens of thousands of high-paying jobs, and a major impact on transportation and land use have characterized Amazon’s relationship with its primary home of Seattle. As the company continues to grow, its process to determine...
In a country as culturally and politically diverse as the United States, vastly different political systems have come to serve local populations in various states. Certain regions of the nation have far-reaching and invasive local government systems, while others have large swaths of the population that don’t have any sub-county government at all. A typical...
The influx of new residents into Boston and its surrounding communities has put growing pressure on the area’s housing stock. Just recently the median home price in Massachusetts broke $400,000, and there aren’t enough units available to meet the demand among natives, let alone newcomers. Boston’s satellite communities experience greater pressure than towns further out—and...
Earlier this year, the Boston Globe published an article comparing the average percentage of change in the property tax bills of owners of single-family homes in Massachusetts municipalities between 2016 and 2012. Unsurprisingly, most municipalities experienced a net increase in their bills, varying from 2% to 33.1%. However, there are a handful of mostly Western...
Greater Boston’s housing crisis has emerged as one of the most pressing policy challenges for the region.  Building enough homes for the growing workforce and retiring baby-boomers has proven challenging.  In 2004, I conducted a study for Pioneer Institute of residential land use regulations in all of the communities within 50 miles of Boston to...
Read news coverage in The Enterprise of Brockton. Convention Center Fund surplus would also modernize delivery of basic services, create incentive for municipal reforms BOSTON – A new Pioneer Institute report calls for the creation of an Infrastructure Investment Fund (IIF) that would use excess money drawn from the Massachusetts Convention Center Fund (MCCF) to...
In a piece by Jack Encarnacao in the Boston Herald, Richard Rogers, executive secretary-treasurer of the Greater Boston Labor Council claimed that opponents of the South Boston Convention Center expansion were "ideological."  He called out Pioneer for putting ideology "ahead of the best interests of our regional and state economy." As I noted in the piece, Mr. Rogers...
Want to benchmark your community against its peers? Want to bring significant variances to the attention of your town's finance committee before they vote on the budget?    Considering moving to a new town and want to see if your property taxes are going more towards providing current services or paying down costs of the...