In 2010, Cambridge, as well as the rest of the Commonwealth, faced a ballot question that, in the words of its supporters, would "repeal ... the law that promotes subsidized, high-density housing". Cambridge rejected the ballot question by an almost 4 to 1 margin.
Ballot Question 2, proposed by initiative petition, dubbed "Comprehensive Permits for Low- or Moderate- Income Housing" sought to repeal a section of the state zoning code that streamlined the process by which developers apply for permits to build developments that include affordable housing. While those developments would still be allowed, supporters acknowledged that this would effectively end the creation of high density housing that included affordable units. They argued, as do some opponents of development in Cambridge, that rather than making housing more affordable, these projects raised the overall cost of housing. They asserted that adopting Question 2 would create incentives for smaller scale affordable housing.
Opponents of Question 2 asserted that approval of this question would end affordable housing development and, statewide, they prevailed with 58% of the votes cast on this question.
Cambridge results were much more striking. Nearly 80% of Cambridge voters supported high density development of affordable housing. Neighborhoods in the City were uniform in their support. Ward 1 Precinct 1, which encompasses much of East Cambridge had the lowest support where only 69% of voters on this question supported high density developments that include affordable housing. Ward 7 Precinct 1, part of the Agassiz neighborhood, showed the strongest support with 86% of voters opposing Question 2.
The map below show city-wide results for Question 2 by Ward and Precinct. The darker the green, the greater the support for high density development with affordable housing included. Clicking on the map will show detailed results for each area.