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More housing needed to spur growth, study says

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Greater Boston could stagnate and become a far less vibrant area over the next few decades, choked by restrictive housing policies that could drive away restless young people and leave behind a rapidly aging population.

Or it could boom, driven by a surge of young adults drawn by affordable housing and the appeal of urban areas that offer exciting cultural and entertainment options, top-notch colleges, and smart transit choices.

These competing visions were laid out in a report released this month by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. Which scenario plays out, planners say, depends on housing and transportation decisions that are being debated in many cities and towns right now.

“If we don’t have the housing we need, we can’t attract the people we need, and it discourages employers from moving to the region,” said Marc Draisen, the council’s executive director.

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