The Gateway Cities Innovation Institute works to unlock the economic potential of small to mid-size regional cities.

Leveraging MassINC’s research, polling, and policy team, the Institute strengthens connections across communities and helps Gateway City leaders develop and advance a shared policy agenda.

Research Reports

Articles from The Gateway Cities Innovation Institute

Remembering a true champion

The Gateway Cities Journal

Mayor Carpenter did it all Gateway Cities movement lost a beloved hero last week with the passing of Bill Carpenter. Leading the great Gateway City of Brockton since 2014, Mayor Carpenter earned well-deserved acclaim for his work advancing substance abuse treatment, combating family homelessness, and fighting for public education funding. This short list doesn’t do justice to Mayor Carpenter’s many achievements. Running a city is indisputably the hardest job

MassINC’s Series of Regional TTOD Forums Arrives in Lynn

Event Recap

Together with a variety of partners, MassINC hosted the North Shore Transformative Transit-Oriented Development Forum on Wednesday, June 19th. The event drew dozens of citizens and leaders interested in exploring the linkages between transit and development in the region.  Our day began with a walking tour of the area surrounding Lynn’s commuter rail station.

Growing support for regional ballot initiatives to fund our transportation future

The Gateway Cities Journal

The Governor’s Commission on the Future of Transportation envisions a high-performance regional rail system connecting urban centers across the Commonwealth to Boston’s talent, R&D, and global relationships. This strategy leverages existing commuter rail infrastructure to generate more balanced economic development throughout the state. However, it still requires a considerable investment. We will need to modernize the commuter

TOD Big and Small in Fall River

Gateways Episode 21

In this episode of Gateways, Tracy takes a walking tour in the heart of Fall River with private developer Alan Macomber and the city’s executive director of community development, Mike Dion. Our guests explain Fall River’s plans to connect downtown to its vibrant waterfront while creating more market rate

Ben Forman and Dr. Tracy Corley offer testimony to the Joint Committee on Revenue

On Regional Ballot Initiatives for Transportation

The Honorable Adam G. Hinds, Senate Chair The Honorable Mark J. Cusack, House Chair Members, Joint Committee on Revenue State House, Rooms 109-E and 34 Boston, MA 02133   Dear Chair Hinds, Chair Cusack, and Members of the Committee: Thank you for this opportunity to provide written testimony in support of An Act Relative to

State House Forum Brings to Life the Power of Early College

Event Recap

MassINC unveiled new research on Early College high schools last Thursday, June 6th, at a State House forum. Our new report showcases data from two independent randomized controlled trials suggesting Early Colleges have demonstrated ability to double post-secondary degree completion among low-income high school students. Based on these strong results, rigorous cost-benefit analysis finds Early

‘Gateways’ Goes to Early College: Leominster

Gateways Episode 20

Hosts Ben Forman and Juana Matias begin the second installment in our podcast series exploring the promise of Early College by reflecting on a recent State House forum where over a hundred Early College students and educators shared their transformational experiences. Juana then interviews Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago.

Northern Massachusetts Transformative Transit-Oriented Development (TTOD) Regional Forum

Event Recap

On Thursday, May 30th, the Northern Massachusetts Transformative Transit-Oriented Development (TTOD) Regional Forum brought people from across the Commonwealth to the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub. Participants in the morning’s activities dug into how Lowell, Lawrence, and Haverhill are transforming their cities and surrounding communities using transit-oriented development. Speakers and panelists discussed proposed and active rail

Wielding the Double-Edged Zoning Sword

The Gateway Cities Journal

The Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance released a new study linking the state’s housing crisis to zoning at a well-attended State House event last week. Amy Dain, lead author of the report, pointed to four ways zoning inhibits the housing market: height and density limits, ad hoc approval processes, mixed-use commercial requirements, and “edge city” land

Press coverage

  • Lynn Forum Focuses on Transformative Transit-Oriented Development

    McGee spoke at Wednesday afternoon’s North Shore Massachusetts Transformative Transit-Oriented Development Regional Forum, at the Lynn Museum and hosted by the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth (MassINC), which has released a report on the topic. The discussion was moderated by Essex Media Group (publisher of The Daily Item) Community Relations Director Carolina Trujillo.

    In the report, “The Promise and Potential of Transformative Transit-Oriented Development in Gateway Cities,” the executive summary reads that gateway cities can accommodate thousands of new housing units and thousands of new jobs on the vacant and underutilized land surrounding their commuter rail stations. The walkable, mixed-use urban land offers an ideal setting for a transit-oriented development.

    Dr. Tracy Corley, a transit-oriented development fellow for MassInc., said their research focused on 13 of 26 gateway cities and what could be done within a half mile of commuter rail stations, which could create the potential of 140,000 new jobs.

    Read More…

  • Krause: Time is Ticking on Transportation Plan

    Wednesday, officials from MassINC — a non-profit dedicated to promoting public policy that creates a pathway to opportunity for Massachusetts residents — were in Lynn to promote the TTOD initiative.

    That would be a marvelous idea, if Lynn was served by a 21st century transit system. It isn’t. In fact, the commuter rail that passes by here once an hour is archaic. And it’s basically useless. If I work on State Street, or somewhere else in the financial district of Boston, getting off a train at North Station, behind the Boston Garden, is not making my commute any easier.

    Read More…

  • Strengthening K-12 education system through collaboration

    The SouthCoast Development Partnership hosted a panel on Tuesday regarding public education in Massachusetts to look at the pipeline from pre-K to the business world. Featuring public officials and educators, the panel discussed how collaboration can strengthen the Commonwealth’s education system, according to a press release from the organization.

    Educational Attainment is one of the focus areas of the Partnership.

    MassINC’s Research Director, Ben Forman, presented on strengthening local accountability to the group, stating “with much needed education funding coming into communities, now is an opportune time to think about how we strengthen governance at the school and district level so that communities are able to put these funds to work in new and different ways.”

    Read More…

  • Boom in transit ridership could signal big changes for Brockton

    “Brockton was really slow to see any reinvestment and then all of a sudden the city has built a tremendous pipeline,” said Ben Forman, director of MassINC’s Gateway Cities Institute, which studies the state’s substantial collection of mid-sized, formerly industrial cities. Brockton has since “leapfrogged” many of the cities it once lagged behind in terms of housing production, according to Forman.

    Read More…

  • Viewpoint: Affordability, congestion can be solved with smart, bold policies

    A flexible tax credit equal to up to 25 percent of development expenses, HDIP is quietly accumulating an impressive track record breathing new life into abandoned buildings and long-vacant lots near Gateway City train stations. MassINC research shows each dollar in state HDIP funding has leveraged approximately 12 additional dollars. Housing Choice and Opportunity Funds could provide even more leverage in the future, but the state must have credits available to deploy. Currently, HDIP is up against an annual cap of just $10 million.

    Read More…

Gateway cities

@GatewayCities

CW In Depth | In Holyoke, arts education takes front seat: Non-profit helps integrate creativity into the regular curriculum https://t.co/nYUjrMJjxb
Jul 15, 2019
I noticed similar ridership and enthusiasm for @MBTA_CR this weekend. It makes the case for lower fares during weekdays, off-peak. Our system could connect so many more people to opportunities and activities! #MassTOD #RideTheT https://t.co/5LzTWCUEuq
Jul 14, 2019
Our Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) is a tactical approach to accelerating economic growth in #GatewayCities, and we've recently launched an @instagram to better engage community members + partners. Follow along at https://t.co/xF4lyiCoZg 📍 https://t.co/GfY0MxtrGG
Jul 12, 2019
Three @MBTA_CR round-trips this week. Fitchburg and 2x Haverhill to talk #MassTOD. So much more relaxing than driving. And after the #HaverhillFarmersMarket where I met a lot of community leaders & activists just hanging out, I biked the streets & Bradford #RailTrail. Fun! https://t.co/TW3KCBto8r
Jul 14, 2019
Cape Cod congestion? Frequent, all-day, all-year train service is solid alternative to cars. But quiet pass expiration change erodes trust in rail service, @MBTA_CR. 😖 #MassTOD :: After pain of bridge work, users have ideas for fixes https://t.co/oSgYRUfhib
Jul 14, 2019
@GlobeNewsEd you've got the right attitude. Try biking. It's a way around hanging at work till 7. And we could use your attitude to improve protected bike lanes and other non-car travel! #MassTOD https://t.co/38RwFEdGWA
Jul 11, 2019
Check this out - great resource for all the amazing, cool, community led stuff happening in @gatewaycities this summer! Oh & definitely follow @my_tdi on @instagram! #mapoli https://t.co/7Sk6IagfAN
Jul 11, 2019
Yes, we need funding like this to build the 100s of thousands of workforce & low-income units for an expected 600k-800k new residents in next 20 years. Our transit-oriented #GatewayCities have capacity for at least 140,000 of these & market rate units. #MassTOD #HousingChoice https://t.co/G8r3orRAhW
Jul 11, 2019
The Gateway Cities Journal: Running a city is indisputably the hardest job in America…Mayor Carpenter did it all. #mapoli https://t.co/rflyR2wxHC https://t.co/WdJoVGalWR
Jul 10, 2019
So excited that this podcast is out! Thank you, Susan, for the terrific conversation about affordable housing's importance to #TransformativeTOD in our #GatewayCities! #MassTOD #TransitOrientedCommunities https://t.co/zhBiPLRPX8
Jul 09, 2019
On this episode of Gateways, @tracyacorley sits down with @SusanConnelly12, Director of Community Assistance and Strategic Partnerships at @mhphousing, a nonprofit organization that supports and finances affordable housing. #MassTOD https://t.co/9jH1VqHxLv
Jul 09, 2019
We’re one step closer to a livelier Mill Street in #Fitchburg! MassDev is supporting @ActivateMillSt w/ a $40K #CommonweathPlaces grant, & #TDIMass Fellow Francisco Torres is coordinating efforts on the ground w/ @Fitchburg365 + property owners https://t.co/Tlou1igZ4t @SentandEnt
Jul 08, 2019
The Gateway Cities Journal: Growing support for regional ballot initiatives to fund our transportation future #mapoli https://t.co/4Ak2AxmwRQ https://t.co/LIZ5UZDdzi
Jul 08, 2019
“Anytime an @UMassM2D2 resident company receives recognition for their #innovation, it reminds the #lifesciences community that exciting, important work is happening here in #Lowell,...” said M2D2 Director of Operations Mary Ann Picard. #DoBizInLowell #InnovateWithUs https://t.co/6GW2crMSbp
Jul 08, 2019
This man, my friend & boss, @MayorBillCarp was the hardest working Mayor you’ll find. Bill literally worked about 20 hrs/day to make #Brockton better. I would know, I’ve been by his side for nearly 6 yrs. He gave his life for this City. He was the best. RIP. @Enterprise_Marc https://t.co/NabsMpDhSb
Jul 06, 2019

Explore research reports

  • MassINC is a key partner to the Boston Foundation, and all of us who are seeking to advance the regional conversation around economic opportunity and a strong quality of life for all.  MassINC's robust, nonpartisan research is exactly what our citizens and leaders need to make good decisions.

    Paul Grogan, President of The Boston Foundation

  • I watch my inbox for CommonWealth magazine’s Daily Download. I can count on the newsletter to tell me succinctly what’s happening in politics and public policy. The magazine itself always delivers in-depth news, analysis and commentary. It's simply outstanding, quality journalism. I am happy to support unbiased reporting through my participation in Citizens Circle.

    Helen Chin Schlichte
    Former Public Administrator; President Emeritus, South Cove Manor at Quincy Point

  • MassINC's long-term dedication to Gateway Cities makes them a valuable resource to all of our communities. They are a true thought partner. They go the distance to help others appreciate our unique opportunities, needs, and perspectives.

    Tim McGourthy Executive Director of the Worcester Regional Research Bureau

  • MassINC serves as a credible, thoughtful resource for all of us who are invested in the future of the Commonwealth. Its emphasis on careful analysis that is grounded in data, research, and polling makes an important contribution to and helps elevate the conversation about the challenges and opportunities facing the region.

    Trevor Pollack, Manager of Special Projects for the Barr Foundation

  • The potential of Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities is limitless. MassINC’s dedicated work in promoting these cities has been, and will continue to be, instrumental in their individual and collective success.

    Jay Ash
    Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development and former chair of the Gateway Cities Innovation Institute

  • MassINC has always provided research showing the detrimental impact of the state’s unforgiving criminal justice system on our communities. Their polling confirmed that the public understood the need for change in our system. That criminal justice reform is at the forefront of bipartisan local and national debates today is in no small measure due to MassINC’s persistent and fair commitment to the issue.

    Juliette Kayyem Faculty Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Founder Kayyem Solutions LLC

  • Through my partnership with MassINC, the Building On What Works Coalition is working to unite a diverse collection of civic leaders around an urgent call to encourage the state to act on the progress that has been made ensuring all children in Massachusetts have a true chance to succeed in the state’s economy. MassINC’s research and commitment to data driven public policy are helping to give the children of Massachusetts a better education.

    Kim Driscoll Mayor of Salem

  • MassINC's work with the Gateway Cities is unmatched. As Eastern Bank strives to help businesses in these communities thrive, MassINC has been a tremendous partner, providing data-driven research and affirming that these cities are full of opportunities.

    Bob Rivers Chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank

  • When MassINC speaks, it’s well worth listening. After all, the nonpartisan think tank has established itself as a thoughtful, careful, credible voice on public policy in Massachusetts.

    Scot Lehigh Boston Globe Op-Ed Columnist

  • Few organizations in the country have better understood the important role of governance reform and accountability in education policy and economic development than MassINC.

    Bruce Katz Former Vice President and Founding Director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at The Brookings Institution

  • [MassINC's] understanding of the complexity of the challenges facing the state’s older cities, its belief in the opportunities that present themselves in those communities, and its advocacy of the role that public higher education can and should play in them, has added to the understanding that policy makers need to have as they move our state toward the future.

    Jean MacCormack

Why support massinc?

  • We enjoy what we do.

    Whether it’s planning events, conducting research, or analyzing the news, our team works on projects that we’re passionate about.
  • We develop leaders.

    Former MassINC employees have gone on to work at reputable organizations like Harvard University, Boston University, City Year, EnerNOC, and Governor Baker’s office.  
  • We stick with it.

    Our work on transformative development, which uses public and private funding for projects to revitalize an entire downtown or urban neighbor­hood, began as Policy Center research report in 2013. A year later, the state legislature passed a bill funding transformative development projects across Massachusetts.
  • We are nonpartisan.

    Our Board of Directors includes prominent Massachusetts Democrats and Republicans. We are interested people’s ideas, not which side of the aisle they sit on.
  • We have a complete toolbox.

    We aren’t just a think tank. We bring nonpartisan research, civic engagement, journalism, and independent polling together under one roof.
  • We have state-wide reach.

    We know that Beacon Hill isn’t the only place to make progress. We’re on the ground in cities across the state working with local leaders.
  • We have unique networks.

    We use our connections to bring together a cross-section of diverse leaders to solve problems. Our networks include mayors, economic development directors, superintendents, business people, newspaper editors, arts leaders, and regional transit officials.  
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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