Rent control and rent stabilization laws have done as much as anything to destroy cities over the past fifty years.
Fortunately, Massachusetts voters effectively outlawed rent control, several years ago.
Well, most people think it’s a fortunate thing.
Michael Patrick MacDonald writes in the Globe this week that we need to bring rent control back to Boston:
In the old South Boston, a kid living in the project could envision a gradual climb from project to vinyl-sided home to the hills of middle-class City Point. But these days, at the end of the block is a whole different universe. And in most neighborhoods the two worlds of townie and newcomer never meet.
It’s hard to argue with someone who knows South Boston better than I do, but I can’t believe this to be true. The distance between a housing project and a middle class life is closer now than it ever has been, in my opinion. I mean, be serious! (I don’t understand how MacDonald could have this point of view – this is the guy who wrote a book about how bad things were in Southie in the 70’s!)
Here are some ideas he has for how to improve the lives of Boston’s poor:
There are steps we can take to maintain the old social fabric. We can work for affordable housing and rent stabilization laws. We can volunteer for programs that promote the social mobility of all children, such as after-school mentoring and tutoring. In a just city, we would all work to improve public schools, regardless of whether we have children in them.
I’m for all of that …. except the rent stabilization laws. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
More: Southie, then and now – By Michael Patrick MacDonald, The Boston Globe