The University of Massachusetts Amherst

UMass Donahue Institute

2018 Publication Archive

Gateway City Economic Snapshot - Transformative Development Initiative

Commissioned by MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI)

MassDevelopment's Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) is a place-based development program for Gateway Cities designed to enhance local public-private engagement and community identity; stimulate an improved quality of life for local residents; and spur increased investment and economic activity. 

Gateway Cities are midsize urban centers that anchor regional economies around the state. For generations, these communities were home to industry that offered residents good jobs and a “gateway” to the American Dream. Over the past several decades, manufacturing jobs slowly disappeared. Lacking resources and capacity to rebuild and reposition, Gateway Cities have been slow to draw new economic investment.

An analysis of Gateway Cities that MassDevelopment commissioned to advise its TDI work reveals varied community characteristics and distress levels in these 26 former industrial centers, reinforcing the need for local approaches to spur redevelopment. Gateway Cities are home to more than one-quarter of the Commonwealth’s population and more than 20 percent of its jobs, highlighting the continued import of public and private investment. The cities also have significant assets, including desirable walkable downtowns and historic architecture, upon which local leaders hope to anchor their redevelopment plans.

From the report's Executive Summary:

Now, in this third and final year of TDI’s pilot program, MassDevelopment has collaborated with the UMass Donahue Institute’s (UMDI) Economic and Public Policy Research group, TDI Partners, and other local partners to develop this report as a complement to the 2016 Economic Snapshot. This report provides a more detailed study of conditions on the ground in the TDI Districts and a process for evaluating the program’s effectiveness. It also establishes a baseline analysis of activities in the 10 TDI Districts, with a particular focus on the program’s work in the Haverhill, Lynn, and Springfield TDI Districts through additional development of novel sources, primary data collection, and qualitative research with TDI Fellows and municipal partners. This assessment includes data from each district on residential and commercial real estate and hyper-local economic and industrial conditions, as well as data from a customized survey undertaken in Haverhill, Lynn, and Springfield that examines community perceptions of district business and property owners and the people who live, work, or play in the district. Each of these methods establishes current economic conditions to provide a baseline for measuring future changes. 

Read the full executive summary and the report. 


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