This week JM Goldson ran a planning workshop, sponsored by the Bridgewater Housing Partnership, to generate goals and strategies to incorporate in Bridgewater's Housing Production Plan. The 47 workshop participants learned about their regional and local housing needs, participated in an digital group polling exercise, and brainstormed goals and strategies in small interactive discussion groups.
A popular part of our workshops is always the digital group polling. The polling is great fun and we learn a lot about the participants - who they are and what their perspective is. Some facts we learned about pariticpants from the polling:
- 81% of the participants were over the age of 45 years
- 26% had never come to an official meeting in town before the workshop!
- About 1 out of every 3 workshop participants were within the low-income range (for a household of 4)
We also learned that 70% of the participants were not opposed to affordable housing but were concerned about the impact of new development on the community. Only 11% were opposed to affordable housing in concept and 19% considered themselves avid supporters. See the full summary of the digital group polling results: Bridgewater Workshop 012512 group polling results.
During the interactive group discussion portion of the workshop, small groups discussed their thoughts in response to four questions. Some of the themes we gleaned from the sample group presentations included a great concern for preserving community character and a preference to create low and mixed-income housing through reuse of existing buildings (e.g., old factory buildings, vacant/foreclosed homes, and surplus town buildings). The groups discussed the pros and cons of inclusionary zoning, infill bylaws, 40R, as well as smart growth principles to utilize redevelopment sites in and around downtown.
Using the results of the workshop and the housing needs assessment, JM Goldson will work with the Housing Partnership to draft the goals and implementation strategies for the Housing Production Plan over the next few months. The draft Plan, which includes a detailed housing needs assessment can be downloaded here: DRAFT BRIDGEWATER HOUSING PRODUCTION PLAN - CHAPTER 1: HOUSING NEEDS.