Dennis Carlone for City Council, 2019
Incumbent first elected in 2015 and seeking his third term in office
Background: Architecture, urban design | Focuses: Planning, environmentalism
Edited and condensed from recent public forums.
Is Cambridge addicted to growth? Is the way Cambridge grows healthy?
The amazing thing is that we don’t use the benefit of new commercial construction – our budget does not increase based on the amount of commercial development. Every great city builds wonderful public entities and services during wealthy times. We don’t. Much of the overdevelopment is due to upzonings, where a developer gets an increase in what they’re allowed to build that raises the land value; they think, “Oh, we need enough zoning to pay for this increased land value.” It becomes insidious.
What other ideas besides the Affordable Housing Overlay can be used to create affordable housing, and how can you create more housing while protecting existing tenants?
This is my profession. I’ve done more than 500 units of affordable housing and they’ve all won awards and transformed the lives of many people. I’m the only councillor that has a housing background – and I was kept off the Housing Committee that brought forth the overlay. But I wrote an extensive paper on what was wrong, and what to do: The Cambridge Redevelopment Authority can buy land and lower its price so you don’t have to put huge buildings on it to make it make economic sense, which was the whole premise of this overlay.
What is your approach to climate change policy?
We have to think of living a little differently – smarter. As an architect, I’ve done green buildings. In the end, green buildings just use common-sense approaches on a variety of decisions. It isn’t that difficult. Environmental design and green city planning is all based on common sense. But we don’t listen to it, because it’s a lot easier just to rely on the systems we have.
Which City Council vote from the past do you wish you’d present for to cast the deciding vote?
I was the only councillor to vote against the MIT Volpe upzoning, even though I worked on it to try to make it better as a representative of the city. I would say in general I would go back to any upzoning that’s been passed without any overall strategy to fit in to the city as a whole. In the long run, decisions made for short-term greed and without common sense is where most of our problems have occurred with traffic and with overly dense commercial areas that have raised the value of housing.