Wednesday, February 9, 2011
By Ben Forman
It’s a new year, and annual census figures for US cities were recently released. MassINC has combed through these numbers to provide a fresh look at the State of the Gateway Cities. While this analysis reveals familiar challenges, it also points to encouraging signs.
To be sure, the Great Recession took its toll on the Commonwealth’s regional cities. The credit crisis had a profound effect on housing markets, small businesses, and vulnerable families with limited savings. In each of these areas, Gateway Cities had lots of exposure. While the global economic downturn hasn’t been easy, it came at the same time as a more positive trend emerged.
Over the last few years, developers uncovered the unrealized potential in Gateway City assets. They found connections to interstate highways, airports, CSX terminals, commuter rail, Amtrak, deepwater ports, and strong institutions -- like hospitals, colleges, and national parks -- to engage as partners. Equally important, historic urban fabric, which for decades deterred investors infatuated with greenfield development, became a unique asset. Consumers value downtown authenticity, a shift noted in a widely circulated article published last month in the Boston Globe.
To hear more about how these trends are playing out across the Commonwealth, watch the short slide presentation above. Or click here to download a PDF version of MassINC’s State of the Gateway Cities in 2011.