The Gateway Cities Journal
News and information for leaders who care about Gateway Cities


Makers in the innovation economy


Remaking a manufacturing economy doesn't come easy, but many are focused on doing just that. At a Boston/Gateway Cities Roundtable held last week, thinkers and doers in many fields gathered to discuss the variety of inroads they are taking to change minds, change systems, and nurture a generation that might value working with their hands. With representatives from Boston, Cambridge, Lawrence, Lowell, and Somerville, the group explored emerging trends and then debated the major challenges each faced in broadening the prospects of the manufacturing economy in the region. 


Some manufacturers are redefining production methods, yet attracting interested workers remains a challenge. While popular maker spaces may not always translate directly into manufacturing enterprises, they can change perceptions about working with one's hands, especially among young people.  Economic need in the Gateway Cities demands immediate action, but educational systems - from vocational training to higher education - will have to alter not just programs but cultural norms and ingrained systems that create barriers to change.  Weak real estate markets in the Gateway Cities make it difficult to create space for innovation, and at the other end of the spectrum, some worry that success will displace the original culture of innovation.


The Boston/Gateway Cities Roundtable was hosted by Goulston & Storrs and organized by Janne Corneil and Kathryn Madden as part of Forum48 with support from ELSEVIER and the Urban Land Institute. Forum48 is an emerging global network of cities committed to advancing dialogue between government, higher education, business, and urban and real estate professionals on the future of innovation cities around the world. The Makers Roundtable is one of a series being held in London, Birmingham, New York, Chicago, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Hong Kong. These discussions will help shape the program for a global "Urban Innovation Forum" in Barcelona on October 29-30, 2014.


There is overwhelming interest in continuing this discussion. Stay tuned for future developments!


Janne Corneil, Corneil Co Planning & Urban Design

Kathryn Madden, Madden Planning Group


Participants at the June 4th Makers in the Innovation Economy roundtable included New Balance, 99 Degrees Custom, Artisan's Ayslum, MassINC, MassEconomics, Mass Tech Collaborative, MassDevelopment, the MIT Media Lab, UMass Lowell, Everett Mills Real Estate, Forest City, Graffito SP, Trinity Financial, and the cities of Boston, Cambridge, Lawrence and Lowell, along with others active in promoting the advancement of manufacturing, makers, and economic development.




DevelopSpringfield's chairman, Nick Fyntrylakis, argues for investment in the Gateway Cities transformative development fund with an op-ed in the Republican.


In an op-ed in the Lowell Sun, the Lowell Plan's president, James Cook, argues the city is positioned to benefit from the transformative development legislation working its way through the legislature.


Mayor Alex Morse and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki tout the success of Holyoke's Innovation District strategy for sparking economic revitalization.


The future of Westfield's Business Improvement District lies in the hands of the City Council.


Mayor Stephen Zanni provides a plan to improve downtown Methuen through greater attention to businesses, the Eagle-Tribune reports.


Cabot, Cabot & Forbes are pressing ahead with the planned construction of a 180-unit apartment building in Quincy near the Quincy Adams MBTA Station.




The Worcester City Council says there is no money available for a budget increase for the city's schools.


Attleboro Mayor Kevin Dumas allocates an additional $1 million to the city's the schools to offset diminished aid from the state.


Pittsfield school officials are mulling switching to the new PARCC student assessment after conducing pilot program this spring.


At a summit in Worcester, Speaker Robert DeLeo announces $1.3 million in grants to expand vocational programs in schools throughout the Commonwealth.


UMass Lowell's Marty Meehan writes that the State Legislature should redefine the term "tuition" in a more realistic light when it comes to financing higher education.


In New Bedford, the Whaling Museum breaks ground on a $6.5 million education center project.




Mayor Alex Morse announces that Zipcar will be coming to Holyoke.


Nine Gateway Cities received a portion of the $4.85 million a federal brownfield grant. Salem and Taunton received the two largest grants of $950,000 and $600,000, respectively.


National Grid agrees to extensive repaving work and other measures to win Salem approval for a major transmission project, the Salem News reports.


The Quincy City Council reluctantly adopts the new federal flood zone map that puts 1,400 additional homes in the flood plain and raises premiums for another 2,700 homes and businesses.




The Haverhill City Council began reviewing Mayor James Fiorentini's $166.8 million budget proposal.  Within the proposal, police and education receive the highest budget increases.


The head of the Fall River water and sewer department pleads with the City Council to reconsider their rejection of increased rates.


The Lawrence City Council delays action on a residency requirement for city workers when two city councilors who indicated their support for the proposal called in sick, the Eagle-Tribune reports.


The Quincy City Council votes to give Mayor Thomas Koch a 23 percent raise, down from the 30 percent hike the mayor had sought.


Former Lawrence mayor William Lantigua wins approval for a $17,338 annual pension from the city, the Eagle-Tribune reports.


Brockton Mayor William Carpenter is proposing to raise health inspection rates on landlords of troubled properties to pay for increased code enforcement.




Foxwoods denies they have ruled out Fall River as a site for a possible casino - but declined comment as to whether it is talking to New Bedford as an alternative location.



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MassINC's Gateway Cities Innovation Institute
Tel: (617) 742-6800
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