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

Gateway City leaders speak on opportunity zones

Gateways Episode 34.5

On this bonus episode of Gateways, we continue the conversation on federal Opportunity Zones legislation. Last episode, our guests broke down what Opportunity Funds can do and pointed out areas where they are failing the highest-need communities in our Commonwealth.

Cultivating in the business community with Early College expansion

The Gateway Cities Journal

Massachusetts’ state Senators gather under the golden dome for a historic floor debate on education funding today. The $1.5 billion Student Opportunity Act is a game-changer for Gateway City school districts, and a Massachusetts economy thirsting for skilled workers to replace aging Boomers. Today’s Globe records this moment as a debate about who gets what.

Poll: Massachusetts residents support major changes to rail service, restructuring fares

Residents see opportunities to expand rail overall, improve the Commuter Rail system, and show interest in Gateway Cities development possibilities this could unlock

Massachusetts residents support major changes to the Commuter Rail system and several ways to pay for them, according to a new poll from The MassINC Polling Group. The survey, which was conducted with input from MPG’s parent think-tank MassINC, was funded by the Barr Foundation. Three-quarters of residents statewide support moving the commuter rail towards

A guide to help Gateway City schools capitalize on a major opportunity

The Gateway Cities Journal

This morning Gateway City leaders received hopeful news when the Joint Committee on Education unveiled a $1.5 billion plan to bring state aid in line with the resource needs of K-12 public school districts over a seven-year period. In the words of the State House News Service, Gateway Cities have been waiting 1,400 days for this announcement.

Gateway City TTOD Planning and Design Competition

Call for Participants

MassINC invites Gateway City planning and development teams to participate in the 2020 Transformative Transit-Oriented Development (TTOD) Planning and Design Competition. The purpose of the competition is to connect Gateway City planning and development teams and community-based organizations with budding urban leaders from our state’s universities and colleges. Click here to see the Call for Proposals

Fares for Gateway Cities residents are off the rails

Gateways Episode 32

MassINC recently published a report on fare equity that confirmed what most of us already know: the lowest-wealth Commonwealth residents pay more of their incomes to get around the state than wealthier folks. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the MBTA’s commuter rail network, a public

Press coverage

  • Re-examining gas tax could provide funding for upgrading commuter-rail system

    The majority of Massachusetts residents apparently are all for dramatically improving the state’s commuter-rail system.

    As long as it’s not on their dime.

    That’s essentially the conclusion of a MassINC survey of 1,430 Bay State residents published last week.

    Respondents overwhelming supported several ambitious projects, including the North-South Rail Link, the South Coast Rail project, and extending commuter —  rail service west to Springfield and Pittsfield.

    In addition to these infrastructure improvements, nearly 85% of those surveyed want a wholesale overhaul of the rail’s delivery system, which would entail replacing the existing diesel fleet with electric-powered trains.

    Read More…

  • Mass. Residents Want More Commuter Rail Service And Lower Fares, Poll Finds

    Massachusetts residents want a lot more commuter rail service, including more frequent trains and expanded service throughout the state, according to a new MassINC poll (topline resultscrosstabs).

    The poll found 76% of residents support moving the commuter rail toward a “regional rail” system. In this type of system, there would be trains every 15 to 30 minutes, day and night and on weekends, so people could use the commuter rail for more than just riding to and from work.

    More than two-thirds of residents also want the commuter rail extended to western Massachusetts, the South Coast — including Fall River and New Bedford — and to southern New Hampshire. And 81% of poll respondents want the long-discussed North-South rail link, which would connect North and South stations in Boston.

    “Residents think that the rail system in Massachusetts as it’s currently constructed could do more and that there’s space for rail to go to more places than it does now,” said Steve Koczela, president of the MassINC Polling Group.

    Read More…

  • Poll Tests Mass. Residents’ Appetite For Transpo Projects And Funding

    A majority of residents want to see significant improvements to the commuter rail system, but they also believe the costs should not be passed along to commuters in the form of higher fares or an increased gas tax, according to a new poll.

    Proposals such as a North-South Rail Link, the South Coast Rail project, and extending the commuter rail west to Springfield and Pittsfield all saw support of 75 percent or more in a MassINC poll of 1,430 Massachusetts residents published Thursday.

    The most popular among those was replacing the existing diesel fleet with electric trains: 84 percent of residents polled said they strongly or somewhat support the idea, which is included in a handful of options an MBTA panel is exploring for the future of the commuter rail system.

    Read More…

  • Lynn appeals for commuter rail service at subway prices

    Lynn, though, is a Zone 2 stop, which costs $7 each way. In a recent report, MassINC specifically highlighted the city as one area where commuter rail prices leave public transportation out of reach as an option for many residents.

    ”We could use that transportation option in Lynn,” Capano told the T’s board. “It would give us economic opportunity. Transportation can definitely help with that and reduce congestion on the way into Boston.”

    Read More…

     

  • Our View: Lower fares from gateway cities

    Solving the state’s transportation woes will involve major upgrades to the rail network, which shuttles thousands of commuters in and out of Greater Boston every day. But as state transportation planners evaluate what needs to be done, the think tank MassINC contends the state has to look at making commuter rail fares more affordable to avoid shutting out low- and- moderate-income riders.

    The problem is most serious in Massachusetts’ so-called “gateway cities”, including Lawrence, Haverhill, Salem, Lowell and Lynn on the North Shore. MassINC issued a report in August citing what has long been a “spatial mismatch” between urban neighborhoods and suburban job centers. That mismatch “has reduced wages, lowered labor force participation, and distorted labor markets in other ways that have been especially harmful to communities of color,” according to the report.

    Read More…

Gateway cities

@GatewayCities

I cannot like this. We need to do more to protect people on foot and on bikes from accidents like this. These kids were tremendously lucky! #MassTOD https://t.co/r3Asd3YBOd
Oct 14, 2019
We are 40 days away from our Seventh Annual Gateway Cities Innovation Awards & Summit! If your interested in sponsoring contact me at @ jmatias@massinc.org! #GatewayCities https://t.co/oekLaB8wWA
Oct 10, 2019
The climate crisis is here and we need to think where we want to be in 30 years before acting. Incremental change in the wrong direction isn't helpful. #Ireland #SustainableDevelopment #MassTOD
Oct 10, 2019
Accessible housing extends beyond the unit: the surrounding community must accommodate accessibility, too. #Ireland #WorldHomelessnessDay #MassTOD
Oct 10, 2019
"I don't see a future where we're all riding around the country in our own little bubble with an engine." Here, here. #Ireland #WorldHomelessnessDay #MassTOD
Oct 10, 2019
@AIBIreland is participating in #Mortgage2Rent program, keeping people with unsustainable mortgages in their homes & communities. Although folks lose ownership, they retain occupancy & dignity. US banks, take note! #MassTOD #WorldHomelessnessDay
Oct 10, 2019
Yes! This was central to my research in Germany. It would be great to have more vocational & apprenticeship programs in commercial space in @Gatewaycities #TransitOrientedDevelopment areas. Easier access to training on @MBTA_CR & more station-area activity! #MassTOD https://t.co/KcT06vjEze
Oct 09, 2019
Makes the case for more dedicated bus lames and fee hikes for users who use a ride share or taxi more than 2 or 3 times a month. #MassTOD #transitpriority https://t.co/uQjI8k5Hth
Oct 09, 2019
Schools are important for our #MassTOD areas. But even if your not in a TOD area, apply! All children should have safe routes to walk or ride a bike or scooter to school! Thanks, @MassDOT & @SafeRoutes_MA! https://t.co/97EEeFHyTa
Oct 09, 2019
Arts and artist friends across the @Gatewaycities - check this one out and push to your networks! #mapoli #magov cc: @MASSCreative @MassArtists https://t.co/wrSjHajL3v
Oct 09, 2019
And we need the mixed use, mixed activity compact, walkable #TransitOrientedDevelopment so folks won't need to use those cars as much. #MassTOD #transitpriority https://t.co/hFnQDE663O
Oct 09, 2019
@JKriesberg It's going to be an exciting trip! Getting ready for a deep dive into Ireland's housing policy and crisis. Thanks for organizing! #MassTOD
Oct 09, 2019
It's finally here! The live recording of the @Gatewaycities podcast featuring @EforAllSC alum Luis Gonsalves, Co-founder of Juice'd Cafe. Take a listen! #eforall #dreamstobusinesses https://t.co/iHAQ3PH6NR
Oct 08, 2019
Amen. It takes heart to make room. #MassTOD https://t.co/zRrIqRn0lM
Oct 07, 2019
It was a joy to lead a lively discussion with a fantastic group of planners from across the Commonwealth! They're doing what they can to address #equity in urban, rural & suburban neighborhoods. Thanks for the invite! #MassTOD https://t.co/gfAk0lZJL6
Oct 05, 2019
These results are why I shudder when folks call #TCI a gas tax. We could pay less in a few years, #mapoli! #MassTOD @Gatewaycities https://t.co/bnbLpHMhVw
Oct 06, 2019

Coming up

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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