Transformative Development

MassINC’s multi-year effort to advance strategic state policy for Gateway City growth and renewal

Blog

Building reverse commute ridership

A newfound opportunity for Gateway Cities

With thousands of new housing units going up in downtown Boston at the terminus of commuter rail lines, Gateway Cities have a newfound opportunity to draw reverse commuters and recapture some of the talent they have lost to Boston. The MBTA doesn’t track how many riders currently board in Boston and disembark in Gateway Cities.

Connecting rail riders from the station to jobs in the suburbs

Can shuttle services give Gateway City residents access to more jobs?

As we described in a previous post, job growth outside of the Boston core has overwhelmingly occurred at highway interchanges with limited access to public transportation. This phenomenon is partially attributable to the MBTA commuter rail’s hub-and-spoke model. By design, the system operates with one-directional aim—funneling suburban residents to jobs in Boston and Cambridge. Increasingly,

Increasing access to economic opportunity with affordable transit

A growing number of transit agencies discount fares for low-income riders

Rising rents are pushing low-income transit-dependent households awy from strong public transit and out to Gateway Cities, where service is less frequent. These residents have just two costly options to get to back to better paying jobs in Boston: driving or taking the commuter rail. Compared to the subway, with its flat fare of $2.25

Four things we learned about Gateway City travel this summer

Understanding mobility patterns

The Googles of this world have loads of travel data to understand mobility patterns at minute detail. While most researchers and planners never get a good look at these real-time data, we do have two interesting sources of information that can help us learn more about how people travel across the state. One resource is

Reading employer demand for transit in the job growth tea leaves

The picture we get is revealing

The best data we have to look at where jobs are growing over time come to us at the municipal level.* This isn’t great for getting a sense of whether employers are migrating to locations with strong transit service—ideally we’d have job counts for Census tracts or smaller geographies that represent actual station areas—but it’s

Juicing regional economic development by improving labor mobility

A look at Gateway City residents earning the Boston wage premium

A startling percentage of households migrating from Boston to the Gateway Cities are low-income and transit-dependent. For these residents, finding living wage work may now hinge on whether they can make the commute back to Boston. Data from the American Community Survey show that Gateway City residents who are able to find and get to

The push and pull of transit in Boston and the Gateway Cities

A look at gentrification forces on transit-dependent households

The trend of low- and middle-income households being priced out of urban centers with robust public transit networks is a reality in major cities all over the country. Despite its ills, the MBTA system is exceptional, which means Boston is no exception. Migration data from the American Community Survey show that more than one-quarter of

Community Benefit Districts on the table for FY18

New designation would promote collaboration in downtowns, Main Streets

Representative Brendan Crighton and Senator Eileen Donoghue have filed an outside section of the FY18 Budget, currently in Conference Committee, that would create Community Benefit Districts (CBDs) as an alternative to Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) for communities across the Commonwealth. CBDs are designed to support downtowns, cultural districts, historic areas, and Main Streets that require

Looking for a Transformative Transit-Oriented Development paradigm

View the Boston skyline from afar and you can pick out transit stops from the cranes poking out above active construction sites. TOD is occurring all over the city. This development has been fueled by relatively strong regional population and employment growth, high-frequency transit service, and perhaps most importantly, consumers with a preference for walkable

Bending the business as usual growth curve

Leveraging existing transit assets

Massachusetts is projected to add more than a half million new residents over the next two decades. Where these new residents settle will have important consequences for quality of life, the environment, economic growth, and access to opportunity. How we grow will also have critical implications for the fiscal health of state and local governments.

Transformative-Development

Coming up

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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@MassINC

  • 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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