Designing Boston: Accessory Dwelling Units

Designing Boston: Accessory Dwelling Units

Date: Monday, June 25, 2018
Location: BSA Space, 290 Congress Street, Boston

6:00 - 8:00 pm

Accessory Dwelling Units (aka ADUs, Additional Dwelling Units, granny flats, in-law-apartments) are small units within, attached to, or on the same property as a regular home. This is an old concept that is gaining ground throughout the country as a new way to increase affordable housing and allow homeowners to age in place. How does it work, though? What local zoning regulations need to change? How many new units are we talking about? What does it cost to build or renovate for an ADU? Join a discussion on how the ADU movement is taking shape in Boston and surrounding communities while exploring innovative models for truly affordable construction.

Anthony Flint, senior fellow, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

James Shen, Harvard Loeb fellow 2018, visiting lecturer at MIT School of Architecture, and co-founder of People’s Architecture Office

Marcy Ostberg, Director Housing Innovation Lab at the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics

Chris Herbert, Managing Director, Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies

Lily Canan Reynolds, Community Engagement Manager, Department of Planning and Development, City of Newton

Free & open to the public
BSA Space, 290 Congress Street, Boston


This event will be co-hosted by the BSA Foundation and BSA Housing Committee. The Housing Committee has been collaborating with Boston’s Housing Innovation Lab (the iLab) throughout the City’s ADU pilot program. In June 2017 they co- hosted a design charrette to explore design possibilities for additional dwelling units within the existing footprint of a house. Working in four teams, a group of 30 architects and designers sketched out ideas for basement, attic, and in-unit build outs for single family and triple-decker homes. The two-hour visioning session created a better understanding of some of the challenges that would need to be addressed to implement this concept. The charrette helped guide the final zoning regulations that govern the pilot program in East Boston, Mattapan, and Jamaica Plain underway today. The Housing Committee continues to offer assistance through the design and permitting process for the first ADU applicants in Boston.

This event is part of the Designing Boston Series, a forum to discuss current trends and concerns in architecture and urban planning that may shape Boston’s future.

For those who qualify, 2 LU/HSWs are available.

Image courtesy of People’s Architecture Office.