December 20, 2010
On November 29, The Boston Globe ran the first of a five-part series of editorials advocating for the state’s Gateway Cities. The series argues for state policy changes to better support older, mid-sized cities from Lawrence to Pittsfield. The editorials refer to MassINC’s ongoing advocacy for these communities beginning with the major research report, “Reconnecting Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities,” released with the Brookings Institution in 2007.
The first editorial broadly laid out the need for state policy reforms in areas like transportation, housing, and economic development. With policies better tailored to the needs of these historic, industrial cities left out of the state’s knowledge economy, communities long neglected by Beacon Hill could become stronger economic engines for the Commonwealth.
The editorial published on December 12th cites MassINC’s 2009 report, “Going for Growth: Promoting Residential Reinvestment in Gateway Cities” which described state housing policies that inhibit efforts to create attractive, market-rate housing in Gateway Cities. The Globe argues that Gateway Cities’ overreliance on subsidized housing programs has led to a glut of affordable housing in poorer communities, in effect, reducing the market-rate housing stock sought after by middle class residents. MassINC’s “Going for Growth” report called for a number of policy changes that would address this problem by creating tools tailored to the needs of different neighborhoods. With these reforms, the state could move from a “one size fits all” housing policy to more flexible, market-oriented strategies.