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Demand for affordable housing is stronger than ever. This panel of Boston experts discussed the critical elements to bringing more supply on board and Bisnow shares in detail.

The long-term outlook for affordable housing depends on its location in walkable areas with access to transit that will take residents to their jobs: urban density, in other words, or at least a pocket of density around a transit node.

The pandemic has called that model into question, but in the long run, urban density will be resilient, Stantec Architecture Senior Associate Aeron Hodges said.

"One of the most frequent responses to the situation has been an aversion to density and urbanity, for understandable reasons," Hodges said during Bisnow's Re-Imagine Housing Affordability in a Post-Pandemic Boston webinar last week.

"But cities will bounce back quickly, partly because of the infrastructure that is already in place. "Humans are social creatures," she added. "We're drawn to each other. Density creates an energy chamber for innovation, for ideas that we are so much in need of."

Transit will remain vital to the future of affordable housing, said Wandy Pascoal, the housing innovation design fellow for the Boston Society for Architecture and the city of Boston. Not just to provide access to employment and services, but as a factor in allowing more units in the same space.

"A relatively small chunk of the cost can be lowered if we reduce the amount of parking that's available, increasing the number of units that get built out," she said. "That means for the overall development project, there is a reduced cost per unit."

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