U. Mass professor speaks about the state of the Vineyard economy

Public policy professor Michael Goodman (left) with David Vigneault, executive director of the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority. —Bill Chaisson

At an event at the Harbor View Hotel on Thursday, Michael Goodman, a professor of public policy and head of the Public Policy Center at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, presented a fact-rich summary of the state of the Massachusetts economy, with a brief foray into Vineyard-specific numbers, including our housing shortage.

The economic “summit” was sponsored by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) in partnership with the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce and Dukes County Regional Housing Authority.

“I would be looking,” Mr. Goodman said, “for parcels with access to sewer to build multifamily housing on, sooner than later.”

Mr. Goodman said that compared with much of the rest of the country, Massachusetts has done a “dreadful job” of producing housing for its populace. To address the situation on the Island in particular, the MVC provided Goodman with data for permits to build single-family houses in Dukes County. This bar graph showed a small peak in the late 1980s and a smaller one in the late 1990s, and then generally smaller bars since.

He saw strengths in the Island economy that he said could be built on. Natural resource–based industries (primarily fishing), construction (primarily repair of existing structures), and the service economy were all more robust than is average in the state.