Research Director Ben Forman offers an in-depth look at the rich potential of New England small cities’ transit infrastructure in “Linking Commuter Rail to Jobs, Housing, and Opportunity in Eastern Massachusetts,” published this week in the American Prospect. Forman champions the virtue of these cities’ land—expansive, close to transit, and ripe for new development—but laments
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. This walkable, mixed-use urban land offers an ideal setting for transit-oriented development (TOD) to take hold. Currently, Gateway City commuter rail stations get minimal ridership from downtown neighborhoods and few
Incarceration approach is hollowing out the middle class
FOR ALL THE TALK about inequality these days, it’s rare to see policy proposals that could actually make a difference. Politicians of all persuasions rail against the disappearing middle class, and then do very little to find common ground on viable solutions to the problem. The criminal justice reform legislation introduced in the Senate last week is an
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,
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
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
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.
Massachusetts vocational schools are a big success story, but are they shutting out those who might need them most?
KELSEY CLARK, A SENIOR at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School, is showing a visitor work from her graphic design portfolio. There is a pointillism-style poster she drew for assignment to promote a rock concert (she says it left her practically drawing dots in her sleep). A brightly colored infographic poster that she
Boosting unbanked immigrant entrepreneurs in Lawrence
JOSE ROSARIO CAN barely walk a step without pointing to some of the changes he’s made since becoming the owner of Universal Auto Repair in Lawrence. There are the four new vehicle lifts; the diagnostic computers; the uniforms for his staff, complete with name tags; the fresh coat of interior paint; the break room for
The Gateway Cities Journal
President Obama’s parting plea to work collaboratively as citizens to address hard issues had to resonate with Gateway City leaders, who never shy from this civic responsibility. Together, they grapple with the toughest problems and try to find commonsense solutions. In just the past two days, we’ve witnessed two great examples. Wednesday, at the first