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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

Generating more geographically-balanced growth

Connecting Gateway Cities with Boston’s Job Cluster

Gateway Cities like Brockton, Lynn, and Worcester can play an important function generating more geographically-balanced growth throughout Massachusetts. These communities all have strong transit connections to Boston, which positions them to tap the hub’s valuable assets, including its major research institutions, sophisticated service providers, skilled-workforce, and global connections. As regional centers, the economic activity they

A look at the Gov’s FY 2019 Budget from the Gateway City Perspective

The Gateway Cities Journal

Governor Baker’s FY 2019 budget makes no direct reference to Gateway Cities, but it nonetheless reflects a series of policies and priorities with respect to these vital urban communities. The most significant piece is the proposed increase in the earned income tax credit (EIC). Governor Baker’s first budget proposal called for doubling the EIC and

Pat Beaudry

This Month’s Gateway Cities Leader

Cities are shaped by their citizens. From New Bedford to Pittsfield, passionate young leaders are spearheading innovative efforts to reinvent their communities for a new generation. The Gateway Cities Leaders series profiles their work and introduces their ideas, visions, and aspirations to the wider Gateway City world. Patrick Beaudry is the Manager of Public Affairs

Taking matters into their own hands

The Gateway Cities Journal

In 2013, Gateway City leaders developed an education vision. Their strategy was rooted in a belief that these inclusive urban communities could create exceptional learning environments by building on their core strengths, including their diversity, strong cultural institutions, sophisticated early learning providers, and local higher ed partners. At the time, educators described pressure to perform

A year of opportunity and impact

A Recap of 2017

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! 2017 was a year of opportunity and impact for the MassINC family, which includes our Policy Center, CommonWealth magazine and the MassINC Polling Group. Please take a moment to look through our top highlights of the year and consider making a year-end donation that will help us continue our efforts to improve the quality of life in

Measuring School Climate in Massachusetts

MICCR forum explores the connection between School Climate and Student Success

Last week, the Massachusetts Institute for College and Career Readiness (MICCR) convened education leaders and policymakers to examine efforts to ensure that all students attend schools with productive school climates. Cliff Chuang, DESE’s Senior Associate Commissioner, kicked the conversation off by emphasizing the link between school climate and student success. He also described a host

Education policy forum highlights power of RPP model in Gateway Cities

Shedding new light on effective practice

Education leaders and policymakers gathered in downtown Boston to hear about early efforts to build research-practice partnerships (RPPs) through the Massachusetts Institute of College and Career Readiness(MICCR), a collaborative effort led by the Rennie Center, Boston University, and MassINC, with support from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). MICCR paired researchers up with 14 participating

Paying Tribute to Gateway City Innovation

A Recap of our Event in Lawrence

Recognizing individuals and organizations whose passion and energy have made a lasting and outsized contribution to the vitality of their communities Leaders from across the Commonwealth gathered in Lawrence for the Fifth Annual Gateway Cities Innovation Institute Awards Summit last month. Mark Davy kicked off the celebration by showcasing the inventive placemaking projects he has

Gateway Cities come of age

The Codcast

It was 10 years ago that MassINC launched its Gateway Cities initiative with a report documenting the challenges — and huge opportunities — in the state’s once vibrant industrial cities. “Massachusetts’ proud, old manufacturing cities must be counted, on balance, as distressed,” it said. Yet, concluded the report, “For the first time in decades, these cities’ reconnection

Announcing the launch of Gateways magazine!

It’s Happening Here

Check out gatewaysmag.org to read the stories and order your print copy About Gateways Gateways explores the Commonwealth’s rich collection of historic cities as places to live, raise children, study, launch a business, visit, and be inspired. We hope that you will be inspired by the stories in this premiere issue. Please share it with your

Press coverage

  • MCGEE: Lynn Deserves Great Transportation

    Once an industrial force in the state’s economy, the city of Lynn has become a prime example of how an economy can languish when transportation infrastructure is lacking.

    Yet, Lynn isn’t alone. As a Gateway City, it is a part of a bigger story of urban centers that are a key piece of the Commonwealth’s economic puzzle, but face debilitating social and economic issues due largely in part to a lack of transportation options. A MassINC and Brookings Institute report revealed that “incomplete transportation networks represent the most visible shortcoming in the Gateway Cities’ infrastructure connectivity.”

    Read more…

  • 8 innovative things ‘Gateway Cities’ in Massachusetts are doing to bounce back from the Great Recession

    Activating waterfront property that once drew mill workers along the Merrimack River. Turning an historic Worcester park into an art gallery. A “pop-up restaurant” to help advance the careers of food entrepreneurs in Fitchburg.

    Those were some of the initiatives underway across the Bay State, meant to serve as catalyst in their respective “Gateway Cities” as they recover from the Great Recession.

    Massachusetts has 26 so-called “Gateway Cities,” urban regions that have traditionally provided economic pathways to residents and immigrants, according to the Gateway Cities Innovation Institute, which is under nonprofit think tank MassINC. While Boston is the likely front-runner, 9 Gateway Cities submitted bids for Amazon’s second headquarters.

    “Cities are now factories for ideas,” and it’s ideas and creativity that are drawing in businesses like Google and Apple, according to Mark Davy, a consultant and the founder of Futurecity, who spoke at a MassINC celebration of Gateway Cities.

    The initiatives in Pittsfield, Lawrence and elsewhere were honored Wednesday at the Gateway Cities Innovation Awards and Summit, held inside a brick mill building overlooking the Merrimack in Lawrence.

    Read more…

  • Criminal justice reform: Business as usual is not an option

    Among the highlights of the bill championed by Hinds and sponsored by Sen. Will Brownsberger, D-Belmont, Senate chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, are repealing “ineffective mandatory minimum sentences for low level drug offenders,” reducing and eliminating overburdensome fees and fines, reforming the bail system, allowing for compassionate release for infirmed inmates, and reforms to the juvenile justice system, Hinds said.Hinds pointed to a what he called a “profound study” by MassINC, an independent think tank whose director of research, Ben Forman, presented at the conference later in the day. The study examined incarceration rates and their geographical distribution in the city of Boston.

    Read more…

  • Black, Latino communities seek voice in criminal justice reform

    One report from the MassINC think tank found that cash bail tends to be set higher for black defendants than for white defendants.

    Read more…

  • Is this the year Massachusetts will eliminate mandatory minimum sentences?

    Advocates for repeal say they are seeing more momentum and more political openness to the idea than ever before. But making changes will not be easy, with opposition from many of the state’s prosecutors. Democratic state senators have been leading the charge to end some mandatory minimums, but Democratic House leaders have been more reticent. Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, has been noncommittal.

    “We’re starting to see a shift in political opinion that reflects public opinion,” said Ben Forman, research director of MassINC, a think tank that supports criminal justice reform.

    Read more…

Gateway cities

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    Former MassINC employees have gone on to work at reputable organizations like Harvard University, Boston University, City Year, EnerNOC, and Governor Baker’s office.  
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    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.
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    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.
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  • 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 Eastern Bank President and COO

  • 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 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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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