MIT Housing Program

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology began "A Housing Program in Cambridge" in April of 1969 for some 1,600 new dwelling units, of which about 750 or more were available under various government subsidy programs to elderly persons and families of low income. The remaining units served others at the lowest possible rents. The M.I.T. program represented an increase of about 5% in the entire housing stock in Cambridge. Because the rent pressures were especially severe for the elderly of low income, virtually half of all the units were built under the public housing "Turnkey" program for the elderly. These subsidized units increased the existing supply of such units in Cambridge by more than 40%.

Prior to 1969, in order to secure the necessary sites for the program, M.I.T. advanced large sums of money for land purchases. As a non-profit institution, M.I.T. developed the housing on a no-loss no-gain basis. M.I.T. did not derive any financial profit from the program, but on the other hand, they did not lose any funds in the effort.

M.I.T. selected Benjamin Thompson for the design of 700 dwelling units at three locations in Cambridge. The 700 units were built on Clarendon Avenue in North Cambridge, Erie Street in Cambridgeport, and Gore Street in East Cambridge.