PDA

View Full Version : Massachusetts' "Gateway Cities"


Lrfox
05-28-2008, 03:22 PM
A coalition of Massachusetts mill cities or Gateway Cities (known as such because of their being a destination for immigrant workers) is in the works to better serve the interests of these secondary cities. I've read about this elsewhere, but I've only felt compelled to post about it starting today.

An article from the New Bedford Standard Times:
Strength in urban numbers

May 28, 2008 6:00 AM

At long last, Massachusetts' former mill cities are uniting to advance their common interests.

Eight months ago, we endorsed a call by think tank Mass Inc. for the state's "gateway" cities ? so named for employing new immigrants in the factories of the Industrial Revolution ? to forge a coalition.

The recommendation was born out of a study Mass Inc. conducted in partnership with the Brookings Institution. The results painted a stark picture of 11 urban economies.

Since 1970, the gateway cities lost more than 3 percent of their job base, while Greater Boston gained 51 percent, an enviable 467,000 jobs.

As traditional points of entry for immigrant mill workers, cities like New Bedford and Fall River were less equipped than Greater Boston to supply a highly educated work force. They suffered anemic outside investment in knowledge-driven sectors such as science, technology, health, education and research.

Now they're ready to make a comeback, and the surest way to do it is through cooperation. To that end, the cities have formed the Gateways Compact for Community and Economic Development.

With a combined population of nearly 1 million, the cities in the coalition will have far more leverage as a group than any of them could alone.

While the cities will always compete with one another on business development deals, they can benefit collectively from lobbying state officials to support a new urban economic agenda.

As part of that agenda, they plan to advance a unified strategy to deal with deficiencies not only in the labor force, but in housing, infrastructure and environmental issues. They can jointly market opportunities for growth in the gateway cities and work together to share information about best practices.

Leaders of the coalition's 11 cities ? Brockton, Fall River, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Springfield and Worcester ? have taken a valuable step toward cooperation.

Now they must dedicate substantial staff time to making the work of the coalition meaningful.

Strength in numbers comes only through the investment of effort and resources those numbers bring.
http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080528/OPINION/805280315/1011/TOWN10


no author was listed

Savin Hill
12-02-2014, 11:28 AM
Turning around Mass. gateway cities

n most formerly industrial Massachusetts cities, big, game-changing real estate developments — the kinds of projects that have the potential to turn an entire city around — can’t get built because they don’t make sense economically for developers. And if the state started lining up smart but unfinanceable development projects from New Bedford and Haverhill to Pittsfield, and handing out subsidies to each one, the tab would quickly soar into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Instead the state earmarked just $16 million.

The notion that $16 million is enough to turn around a handful of economically lagging cities, let alone more than two dozen of them, should be absurd. The need in places like New Bedford, Lawrence, and Springfield is several orders of magnitude bigger. Even so, the state has managed to turn the sum into a big pile of money. It’s happened by focusing first on the thing that makes the state’s older industrial cities so compelling — the fact that they’re not faceless suburban subdivisions.

From Cambridge to Cleveland, cities are surging. Economic development is largely an urban game, because urban centers offer residents and businesses something they can’t get in a subdivision — authentic, compelling environments.

The comeback of the American city is a place-based phenomenon. It’s about tapping into what’s unique and vibrant about a specific neighborhood in a specific city. Boston’s Back Bay, Brooklyn’s gritty waterfront, and Pittsburgh’s booming public market are all contextual; they don’t happen in the abstract, which is why they’re all so difficult to replicate at the bottom of a suburban highway off-ramp.

From the canals in Lowell and Holyoke to New Bedford’s port to Malden’s classic downtown and Chelsea’s industrial architecture, Massachusetts’ smaller cities are full of the types of urban amenities that have catalyzed development in other cities. Most just haven’t put all the pieces together in a systematic way yet. The $16 million the Legislature committed to turning these cities around was earmarked for a fund for transformative redevelopment projects. As one slug of money in a real estate deal, the money won’t transform much. So the fund is being stretched as far as it’ll possibly go, by asking cities across the state to think deeply about the characteristics that make them compelling places.

MassDevelopment, the quasi-public agency administering the fund, put out a call earlier this year, asking cities to identify priority redevelopment districts for transformative projects. The agency put a few parameters on the call: Cities could only focus on one development district, it had to be compact enough to walk through in five minutes, and cities had to identify private and civic redevelopment planning partners. Three winning cities would receive a slice of the state’s $16 million, in the form of a redevelopment planning fellow.

The MassDevelopment program asks cities to take a far more granular approach to development planning than they usually take. It leads with an authentic vision for a specific urban place.

“The older approach would be just putting something in, and assuming that, naturally, others would come after it,” says Anne Haynes, the director of the transformative development program at MassDevelopment. “We want to focus on the types of places and spaces that generate activity. So when the larger project comes in, it feeds off” what’s around it. If a large new development rises in a downtown that’s full of storefronts that don’t make sense, the downtown won’t get the kind of boost it should.

This approach assumes that there will be more money coming down the line for large, transformative real estate developments, but it also recognizes that these larger developments will only work if they’re tapping into a strong sense of place, and a workable local development vision. It acknowledges that money to make unfinanceable developments financially feasible is important, but it also acknowledges that money can’t buy vision, and it can’t conjure a strong neighborhood out of nowhere.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/12/02/turning-around-mass-gateway-cities/aIGVScz5mkOKbNjH9AodtM/story.html

TheBostonian
12-03-2014, 11:06 AM
I am delighted to see the Gateway Cities idea begin to take hold in Massachusetts. Policymakers are starting to see struggling urban centers outside Boston, with their history, culture, immigrant populations, and underutilized infrastructure, as not a burden on the state, but an opportunity. Gateway cities have great potential to be vibrant again, and it makes sense that their common problems (brownfields, schools, poverty, etc.) are tackled in a coordinated way.

I'd love to see this catch on at a national scale, with the federal government adjusting its policies to revitalize the country's hollowed out heartland cities. Obamacare and gay marriage went national after our state served as testing ground, and maybe this is next.

Arlington
12-03-2014, 11:20 AM
The "Gateway" name is rhetorical over-reach. Ok, 100 years ago they were gateways for immigrants, but so was Boston. Duh.
Leaders of the coalition's 11 cities-- Brockton, Fall River, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Springfield and Worcester-- have taken a valuable step toward cooperation.

Problem is "Milltowns" just isn't as sexy and forward-looking.

Here's hoping that they realize that each has its own region to "dominate" as a trading center. Pittsfield needs better connections to NYC (probably via Albany), The South Coast probably should get better NEC connections, and they'd all be better off if the $2b that might be spread around on redeveloping all of them is instead likely to be pissed into the trackbed of South Coast Rail.

BussesAin'tTrains
12-03-2014, 12:01 PM
^ It's all about branding. Regardless of the etymology of "Gateway City", the term Gateway can take on whatever meaning they want; "Gateway to the Future" perhaps. "Milltown" sounds like a rusty past that's never coming back.

Arlington
12-03-2014, 04:05 PM
So, what should each City have to really make it a Gateway?

1) Access to an even bigger city (New York or Boston) or the NEC via New Haven.

2) A freight hub rail, air, or intermodal, such as could support light manufacturing or trading/retailing

3) Minor league sports (baseball or hockey)

4) A branch of a Federal Court (WOR and SPG)

5) Culture or education. A research university would be good. Worcester has the big hospital. I'd count Tanglewood Music Center for Pittsfield...but could it be more "year round"?

SeamusMcFly
12-03-2014, 05:30 PM
Speaking as a brocktonian, the city is definitely a 'gateway' for immigrants today. The tightly knit cape verdean population maintains strong ties with the homeland, and new immigrants come for the cultural ties. We also have a large Brazilian and Haitian population that is made up of many new arrivals.

It's more a gateway for affordable living (not a small amount if it illegal) and familiar cultures, than as a jobs center unfortunately.

The potential is here as well as some of the other cities. The problem as indicated above is the reluctance to hedge ones bets on sinking big money into big developments. I keep my fingers crossed that the trinity development in brockton is a hit, and more follow suit. High hopes I know.

Reznor
12-04-2014, 10:35 AM
I believe "gateway city" is a term that specifically refers to lower cost urban areas that act as a gateway for immigrant families and associated local businesses. The idea being that a working class immigrant family will choose to move to Chelsea or Lynn as opposed to Cambridge or Boston due to cost.

Arlington
12-04-2014, 11:47 AM
I believe "gateway city" is a term that specifically refers to lower cost urban areas that act as a gateway for immigrant families and associated local businesses. The idea being that a working class immigrant family will choose to move to Chelsea or Lynn as opposed to Cambridge or Boston due to cost.

I get that. So why isn't Lynn a member?

BussesAin'tTrains
12-04-2014, 12:43 PM
I get that. So why isn't Lynn a member?

Too close to Boston? Quincy, Malden and Chelsea aren't on the list of "Coalition Members" that you posted either. Although the Globe article does mention some of them.

meddlepal
12-04-2014, 12:59 PM
So, what should each City have to really make it a Gateway?

1) Access to an even bigger city (New York or Boston) or the NEC via New Haven.

2) A freight hub rail, air, or intermodal, such as could support light manufacturing or trading/retailing

3) Minor league sports (baseball or hockey)

4) A branch of a Federal Court (WOR and SPG)

5) Culture or education. A research university would be good. Worcester has the big hospital. I'd count Tanglewood Music Center for Pittsfield...but could it be more "year round"?

What you're basically describing is Worcester:

1.) Under an hour to Boston by car during off-peak. Train is still over an hour unfortunately.

2.) CSX and P&W

3.) Tornado's and the Ice Cats (or whatever it is now.... Sharks?)

4.) Yep

5.) Holy Cross (major liberal arts), WPI (major engineering school), UMass Medical (major medical school) and Clark University (world-renowned psychology school).

Arlington
12-04-2014, 01:17 PM
What you're basically describing is Worcester
And Lowell. They both are clearly on the "it's working" side of their re-birth.

SlothofDespond
12-04-2014, 01:37 PM
What you're basically describing is Worcester:

1.) Under an hour to Boston by car during off-peak. Train is still over an hour unfortunately.

2.) CSX and P&W

3.) Tornado's and the Ice Cats (or whatever it is now.... Sharks?)

4.) Yep

5.) Holy Cross (major liberal arts), WPI (major engineering school), UMass Medical (major medical school) and Clark University (world-renowned psychology school).

Don't forget the DCU, Mechanics Hall, the Hanover Theater, and the Palladium. They each pull in a lot of performing arts stuff.

The Worcester Tornadoes are now defunct. They ran out of money. A summer college league team, the Worcester Bravehearts, now plays at Fitton Field. It's low-level play. For non-baseball fans, unless it's a AAA or AA team, it's not going to be much of a draw or anything to brag about.

BostonUrbEx
12-04-2014, 02:25 PM
On the subject of Lowell and freight hubs, etc... I don't understand why Pan Am/Norfolk Southern intermodal ops weren't placed in Lowell. Specifically I'm looking at a massive, underused parking lot right at the Bruce Freeman Trail's starting point. Which is conveniently located at the intersection of the Lowell Connector, US-3, and I-495. It nearly halves the time to Boston as compared to the current Ayer facility, likewise for time to Manchester NH, and has more of a competitive edge over CSX. It is still accessible for inbound eastbounds (or even westbounds, too (not likely to ever happen)). I'm sure the city of Lowell would have gladly worked to get something like that happening.

TheBostonian
12-04-2014, 06:00 PM
Too close to Boston? Quincy, Malden and Chelsea aren't on the list of "Coalition Members" that you posted either. Although the Globe article does mention some of them.

Full list at bottom of this page http://www.massinc.org/Programs/Gateway-Cities/About-the-Gateway-Cities.aspx

The Legislature defines 26 Gateway Cities in the Commonwealth, which are Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Peabody, Pittsfield, Quincy, Revere, Salem, Springfield, Taunton, Westfield, and Worcester.

BussesAin'tTrains
12-04-2014, 06:44 PM
Full list at bottom of this page http://www.massinc.org/Programs/Gateway-Cities/About-the-Gateway-Cities.aspx

The Legislature defines 26 Gateway Cities in the Commonwealth, which are Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Peabody, Pittsfield, Quincy, Revere, Salem, Springfield, Taunton, Westfield, and Worcester.

Thanks, that makes more sense.

kmp1284
12-04-2014, 09:02 PM
Gateways to what, a life of heroin abuse? Perhaps with Baker in office they'll re-adopt the "fuckin' shithole" moniker for most of these places.

BussesAin'tTrains
12-04-2014, 09:06 PM
Gateways to what, a life of heroin abuse? Perhaps with Baker in office they'll re-adopt the former "fuckin shithole" moniker for most of these places.

You're such a lovely soul.

meddlepal
12-04-2014, 10:41 PM
Gateways to what, a life of heroin abuse? Perhaps with Baker in office they'll re-adopt the "fuckin' shithole" moniker for most of these places.

Wow. Anyways...

A lot of pressure could be taken off the Boston housing crunch if cities like Lowell, Lynn, Quincy and Worcester pulled their heads out of their asses and got serious about good urbanism in the core while also getting serious about dense TOD.

OSUPhantom
12-05-2014, 07:20 AM
Gateways to what, a life of heroin abuse? Perhaps with Baker in office they'll re-adopt the "fuckin' shithole" moniker for most of these places.

This is the kind of elitist mentality directed at these cities that I hate. But anyways...

I also heard the phrase "Legacy Cities" which I also like but regardless of what they are called these cities represent a huge opportunity for the state to provide the benefits of urban living in a more affordable way.

Now it's going to be challenging and I understand how some people can be skeptical that it's possible and some cities have longer ways to go than others but it's possible. Look at Lowell and Worcester; they're getting there.

New Bedford is one that I feel is on the verge of a break through and the current leadership in the city has been doing a good job on the on-going efforts. SCR, Marine Terminal, and other projects have the potential to do a lot for it and it's improved a lot on it's own as well.

Arlington
12-05-2014, 11:37 AM
Gateways to what, a life of heroin abuse?
If we're to let our prejudices hijack everything, I'd say that's Larchmont, NY talking. I'm proud that Massachusetts has not been as condescending and cruel to its beyond-the-MBTA-district milltowns as NY has to its beyond-the-MTA-district towns.

If you begin by remembering that people and physical things are assets, you see the potential in these places. They are the wealth of nations.

If the only assets you know are IP and financial, well, you're going to miss a lot, and I'm tempted to suggest progressive taxes to reconnect you with reality.