What is Unlock the Commonwealth?

Unlock the Commonwealth is a statewide policy initiative to foster the housing we need to sustain and grow the Massachusetts economy.


Why? Since the 1980s, Massachusetts home prices grew to among the highest in the nation and our per capita housing production sunk to 47th of the 50 states. Not coincidentally, our job growth has lagged behind the nation for most of the last two decades.

What holds us back? Unlike most states, every one of our 351 cities and towns has its own unique land use regulations. Most towns make little allowance for multifamily housing and require mammoth lots for new homes. Our zoning discourages housing for young workers and families and makes it clear that new development should happen “somewhere else”.

What’s the solution? We need to establish a genuine growth policy for Massachusetts. It is within our power to allow the housing we need, build housing only where it makes sense, preserve open space, protect the environment, and create a more enduring fiscal partnership between the state and its municipalities. The Unlock the Commonwealth initiative is dedicated to measuring the impacts of housing our economy and framing the crucial policy choices we are facing.

From the Blog