Mayor Michelle Wu and Boston Society For Architecture Announce Release of Request for Proposals to Develop New Housing Inspired by Triple Deckers
Mayor Michelle Wu, the Mayor’s Housing Innovation Lab (iLab), and the Boston Society for Architecture (BSA) today released the “Co-Creating Boston’s Future-Decker” Request for Proposals (RFP), inviting development teams to submit multi-family housing proposals for one or both of two city-owned lots in Dorchester (379 Geneva Avenue) and Mattapan (569 River Street). Applicants are asked to propose developments that address Boston’s unmet need for “missing middle” housing of developments between six and 15 units through the use of innovative design, construction methods, and/or materials.
“It will take every bit of creativity and collaboration to tackle Boston’s urgent housing crisis and ensure we are building a city for everyone,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I’m excited to see even more ideas and partnerships to move faster on creating affordable homes across our neighborhoods.”
"This initiative represents a move towards an innovative housing archetype that could redefine living in our city,” said Sheila Dillon, Chief of Housing. “With a partnership between the Mayor’s Housing Innovation Lab and the Boston Society for Architecture, we're embarking on a journey to explore new designs that would enable the construction of more housing units in Boston. This endeavor marks a moment where imagination meets pragmatism, as we seek proposals to unlock the potential for 'missing middle' housing, addressing our city's growing demand for sustainable, adaptable, and affordable living spaces."
The RFP builds on a Request for Ideas (RFI) released in 2021, which generated housing ideas inspired by Boston’s triple-deckers, also known as three-deckers, a once deeply affordable housing model and replicable building type originally built on small sites. Responses to the RFI helped identify five key themes for the RFP: adaptability and flexibility, living together, sustainability and health, materials and construction methods, and affordability.
In early 2024, the iLab and the BSA will showcase the ideas at a reception at the BSA and invite responses and feedback on the shared submissions before selecting a winning development team.
Additionally, MOH and the BSA will host several events throughout the RFP period to assist potential applicants with the proposal submission process:
- Pre-Applicant Information & Networking Conference: An in-person event to take place at the BSA Space on 290 Congress Street, Suite 200, Boston, MA 02210 on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, 4:00 - 6:00 PM. Interested applicants will be provided with an overview of the application and development process; information on innovation focus of the RFP; basics of financing and financing options;and networking and team-building opportunities.To pre-register to attend, visit bit.ly/future-decker-pre-app.
- Networking Session/Site Visits: An in-person session to take place at both sites included in the RFP on Friday, December 1, 2023, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM. This will be an opportunity for interested potential developers, architects, development team members, community program operators, local businesses, and community members to network.To pre-register to attend, visit bit.ly/future-decker-network-site-visit.
- Office Hours/Q&A: MOH and the BSA will host two (2) virtual drop-in sessions for potential respondents to attend. The first will take place on Thursday, December 14, 2023, 4:00 - 6:00 PM. To register to attend, visit bit.ly/future-decker-office-hours-december. The second on Thursday January 11, 2024, 4:00-6:00 PM. To register to attend, visit bit.ly/future-decker-office-hours-january.
“At the BSA, our goal is to improve the quality of life for Boston-area residents by championing innovation in the built environment,” said BSA President, Andrea Love FAIA. “By working collaboratively with the City of Boston and Mayor Wu through this RFP process, we hope to re-imagine how small city parcels can be designed and developed to provide access to housing that is affordable to middle-income households and reflects the city’s changing needs.”
Visit boston.gov/buildinghousing/future-decker-initiative or boston.gov/future-deckers to learn more about the overall initiative.
About the Housing Innovation Lab
The Housing Innovation Lab was established in 2015 as a first of its kind effort to pilot and scale affordable housing innovations within municipal government. The iLab tests new approaches to housing policy and design to accelerate housing production and achieve affordability for all Bostonians. Taking a prototype driven approach to housing policy, the iLab maintains a diverse portfolio of projects, including Renting to Own, Additional Dwelling Units, and Housing with Public Assets, to experiment with different ways of increasing housing opportunity and affordability. The iLab is embedded within the Mayor’s Office of Housing (MOH).
For more information, visit: Housing Innovation Lab.
About the Boston Society for Architecture
The Boston Society for Architecture (BSA) is focused on improving the quality of life for Boston-area residents by championing innovation in the built environment, with particular emphasis on sustainability and social equity. To achieve this, the BSA connects our diverse and passionate network of over 4,500 architects, firms and allied members through collaborative initiatives that create solutions towards a more equitable and sustainable future. The BSA is one of the oldest and largest chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). For more information about the BSA, including making a donation to the BSA Foundation, visit architects.org.