The Gateway Cities Journal

Live musicians strum a diversity of rhythms, local brews pour freely, and people of all ages dance beneath the humid summer sun-this is the vibrant downtown that we’ve long envisioned for the Gateway Cities, and one newly manifested in Brockton.

PROVA!, a twice-weekly celebration of Brockton’s rich multicultural heritage through food, drink, and entertainment, is the city’s newest placemaking effort. PROVA! presents an eclectic menu each night-music from one country, food from another-on a vacant lot in the heart of Brockton’s TDI district.

This is a collaborative effort between local nonprofits, businesses, city officials, and volunteers, yet true to the DNA of these communities, the lifeblood is the city’s immigrant businesses. I know this story personally. When my relatives emigrated from Poland in the mid-twentieth century, Brockton’s downtown offered them a place to found a small business and establish their presence in America. Still present today, Babin Machinery has been passed down from family member to family member.

The success of PROVA! can certainly inspire further placemaking and development efforts. As Brockton considers utilizing TDI for a restaurant incubator, it need only look to the success of Better Block Haverhill, a similar experiment with pop-up restaurants, which gave way to two new brick-and-mortar downtown eateries.

It is no coincidence that “prova” means “proof” in Creole. After all, PROVA! is a literal proof of concept-proof of effective convening, proof of Brockton’s potential, proof of the community’s enduring will to work together to restore its downtown vibrancy.

 – Rachel Adele Dec

Housing & Economic Development

The Senate passes an economic development bill.

UMass-Lowell opens a Fabric Discovery Center in the Hamilton Canal Innovation District as part of a collaborative effort across three Manufacturing USA Institutes.

The Worcester Housing Authority is honored for its Step-up Apprenticeship Program.

Quincy closes its largest surface parking lot to make way for a new 15-story building and structured parking garage.

The Sasaki Foundation seeks proposals for building resilience in Gateway City communities.

CityLab publishes a helpful primer on Inclusionary Zoning.


MassBudget issues a new report with numbers that show how much underfunding Chapter 70 is harming Gateway City schools.

Funding increases in the most recent version of the state budget may allow Worcester to fill dozens of positions that were left vacant after budget cuts last year.

Lynn City Council approves a nearly $6 million bond authorization for school repairs.

EdSurge has a two-part series on the challenges parents face interpreting education data.

Governing Magazine examines food trucks as a way of providing low-income students with meals during the summer when they lose access to free or reduced-price school meals.


Speaking at a Champion Plan event in Brockton, Governor Baker announces new grants to help cities pay for Naloxone.

Haverhill Rep. Andy Vargas is hosting a hackathon.

After a controversial measure to bar local law enforcement from working with ICE failed to work its way into the state budget, Speaker DeLeo announces that municipalities are free to shape their own policies on the matter on a city-by-city basis. Activists, meanwhile, continue to apply pressure in the hopes that the provision will be passed in another form.

New research from the Brookings Institution finds a link between local newspapers shutting down and municipal borrowing costs rising.

Creative Placemaking

PROVA!, a pop-up multicultural arts and performance venue, opens in Brockton.

The New Bedford Whaling Museum restores and displays the longest painting in America, the 1/4-mile Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World.

Lowell holds its 31st folk festival. New Bedford prepares for its 104th feast.

The Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce hosts a series of events at Harbor Place throughout the summer.

Pittsfield’s Third Thursday now has a permanent Dance Zone.

Communities & People

Via @FallRiverRising: Priced out of Boston, a woodworker finds a home in Fall River, the city that once ruled US Soccer.



Meet The Author

Our sponsors