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Malden, Melrose, Medford issue guidelines for sustainable and resilient building design

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  Malden, Melrose, and Medford worked with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) to collaboratively develop sustainable and resilient building design guidelines for residential and mixed-use developments and retrofits. The voluntary guidelines are intended to help these communities encourage developers to build more affordable housing that is energy-efficient and climate-resilient.

  The guidelines highlight best practices to promote multifamily and mixed-use buildings that are affordable to build and to live in while allowing each community to consider their unique housing needs. They also include design elements that can help residents reduce energy use or save on energy costs; in turn, these energy saving measures can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and might provide other benefits as well. Developers should use the guidelines in tandem with local ordinances and state building codes and in coordination with local building and sustainability departments.

  Community members gave their input to develop the guidelines through a series of interviews, focus groups and workshops. Residents told the MAPC project team that they value living spaces with outdoor access that are close to community resources like transit, groceries and health centers. They voiced their interest in seeing more green space in their communities, including gardens, green roofs, and decks.

  Affordability across the three municipalities is a key concern, as the price of housing and utilities has increased rapidly in recent years. Residents expressed that they want to make sure affordable housing is climate resilient, built with sustainable materials and addresses concerns related to flooding, water drainage, extreme heat and other hazards.

  An interactive webinar on the guidelines was scheduled for April 26, 2023. Resources and guidance for cities and towns to tackle their climate goals can be found at mapc.org/net-zero/playbook/. This project was supported by a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Action Grant from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

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