The Housing Regulation Database is the first phase of a larger joint initiative on housing regulation being carried out by a collaborative partnership of the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research and Harvard's Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston. The data was collected by a Pioneer Institute research team that used both surveys and reviews of legal documents to answer more than 100 questions on zoning, subdivision requirements, and environmental regulations (as of 2004) in 187 localities in eastern Massachusetts. The Pioneer Institute reviewed the data for accuracy, asked local officials to review it, and prepared summary information about the database's contents.

In the project's next phase, a Kennedy School doctoral student affiliated with the Rappaport Institute coded the data so that it could be used for quantitative analyses on such questions as whether and how the regulations affect the supply and price of housing in eastern Massachusetts. This database is available on this website.

Faculty and graduate students affiliated with the Rappaport Institute subsequently used this information to analyze the nature and effects of housing regulation in the region. The coded data is also available for use by other scholars. In addition to this research, other scholars affiliated with the Rappaport Institute have carried out case studies on planning and land-use regulation in a few localities in the region. As these studies are completed, they will be made available on this website as well.

Looking forward, both the Pioneer Institute and the Rappaport Institute intend to use this data to aid future research on housing and land-use issues in Greater Boston. Both entities also hope that scholars, practitioners, officials, and concerned citizens make use of this data as well.

Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research
James Stergios, Executive Director
Amy Dain, Project Manager

Janelle Austin
Casey Barnard
Brian Chirco
Anna Doherty
Molly Giammarco
Michael Kane
Shannon McKay
Emily Mechem
Adriana Nunez
Hayley Snaddon
Eva Claire Synkowski
Gabrielle Watson

Pioneer Sponsors for the Project
Associated Industries of Massachusetts
Homebuilders Association of Massachusetts
James E. Gibbons Educational Development   Trust Fund of the Counselors of Real Estate
Massachusetts Association of Realtors
Massachusetts Business Roundtable
Massachusetts Lumber Retailers Association
National Association of Industrial and Office   Properties
South Shore Chamber of Commerce
Individual donors

The Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research Pioneer Institute promotes research that challenges the “conventional wisdom” on public policy issues. Committed to individual freedom and responsibility, limited and accountable government, and the application of market principles to state and local policy, Pioneer is known for developing sensible, innovative ideas and converting them into action. More information about the Pioneer Institute is available at

Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston
Edward Glaeser, Director
David Luberoff, Executive Director
Jenny Schuetz, Senior Researcher

Affiliated Scholars
Edward Glaeser, Professor of Economics, Harvard University and Director, Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston
Jenny Schuetz, doctoral student in public policy, Kennedy School of Government
Lawrence Susskind, Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning, MIT
Alexander von Hoffman, Senior Research Fellow, Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies
Bryce Ward, doctoral student in economics, Harvard University

Funding for research carried out by Rappaport affiliated scholars provided by
Dan Paul Fund
Kennedy School’s Taubman Center for State and Local Government
Harvard Real Estate Initiative

Harvard’s Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston strives to improve the governance of Greater Boston by attracting young people to serve the region, producing new ideas about important issues, and stimulating informed discussions that bring together the region’s scholars, policymakers, and civic leaders. The Institute was inspired by and receives its core funding from the Jerome Lyle Rappaport Charitable Foundation. More information about the Rappaport Institute is available at

Project advisors who contributed at different stages of the research: Stephen Adams, Robert Authier, Patricia Baumer, David Begelfer, Eran Ben-Joseph, Jeffrey Brem, Philip Christiansen, Geri Denterlein, John Eller, Charlie Euchner, Benjamin Fierro, Peter Forman, Aaron Gornstein, Fred Habib, Christian Jacqz, David Kirk, Brad Latham, Mark Leff, George M. Lovejoy, Jr., Patricia Lynch, William McLaughlin, Chris Norris, Benjamin Osgood, Sr., Benjamin Osgood, Jr., Finley Perry, Diana Pisciotta, Kenneth Pruitt, Jeff Rhuda, Robert Ruddock, Steve Ryan,William Saltonstall, Tamara Small, Greg Spier, Kevin Sweeney, Maggie Tomiewicz, Brian Waterman, David Wluka, Curtis Young, Sarah Young, and Thomas Zahoruiko