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Jerome Lyle Rappaport

Jerome Lyle Rappaport
Founder and Board Member
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Edward Glaeser

Edward Glaeser
Professor of Economics at Harvard University
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Stephen P. Johnson

Stephen P. Johnson
Executive Director of Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation
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Greg Massing

Greg Massing
Executive Director for the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service
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Alasdair Roberts

Alasdair Roberts
Professor of Law and Public Policy at Suffolk University Law School
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Joseph Curtatone

Joseph Curtatone
Mayor, City of Somerville
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Tim H. Davis

Tim H. Davis
Independent Research Consultant
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Scott Harshbarger

Scott Harshbarger
Senior Counsel, Proskauer Rose LLP
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Vivien Li

Vivien Li
Executive Director of The Boston Harbor Association
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Guest contributors

Monika Bandyopadhyay
Suffolk University Law Student

David Barron
Harvard Law School and former Deputy Counsel for the Office of Legal Counsel in the US Department of Justice

Linda Bilmes
Senior lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Assistant Secretary of Commerce during the Clinton Administration.

Brandy H.M. Brooks
Director, Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence, Bruner Foundation

Felicia Cote
Rappaport Fellow, Harvard Law School/Harvard Kennedy School.

Amanda Eden
Suffolk University Law School student

Sara Farnum
Student, Suffolk Univ. Law School

Kristin Faucette
Student at Suffolk University Law School

Benjamin Forman
Research Director, MassINC

Arthur Hardy-Doubleday
JD/MBA student at Suffolk University Law School and the Sawyer School of Business

Theodore Kalivas
Boston Green Blog, Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy

David Linhart
Student, Boston University School of Law

Antoniya Owens
Research Analyst, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Susan Prosnitz
Senior Advisor, TSA, Washington, DC

Ben Thomas
Boston Green Blog, Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy

Matthew Todaro
Student at Boston College Law School

Alexander von Hoffman
Senior Researcher, Joint Center for Housing Studies

Brett Walker
Student, Boston College Law School

Margarita Warren
Student at Suffolk University Law School

From Old Factories to New Hope: Mass. gateway cities must tally up their tremendous assets — and make the most of them

Thursday, July 28th, 2011
By Edward Glaeser

Reprinted from the Boston Globe 7/28/2011

About six years ago, the City of Haverhill decided to count its blessings. After decades spent wishing for new factories to replace those that had closed in the 1970s, the city chose another direction. Like an addict struggling to turn his life around, Haverhill forced itself to tally its assets and debits honestly.

Those empty mills whose turrets soared above the deserted downtown? Since the ’70s they had been a sad symbol of lost prosperity; but their architecture pointed in another direction, as loft apartments or space for smaller, more innovative companies. Then there were train lines. Haverhill, fortunately, had two: A well-traveled MBTA service to Boston, and a stop on the then-new Amtrak “Downeaster,’’ which journeys north to Maine and south to Boston.

It was enough to convince the state to create a special smart-growth zone providing quicker permitting of projects, and to offer some government housing funds in exchange for keeping a portion of the units affordable to middle-income people. Then, the respected Beacon Properties and Forest City Development came up from Boston to build hundreds of units of housing in former mills near the two train lines. Private investment spurred more public investment, in the form of a major new parking garage for other commuters, and suddenly small businesses were popping up as well.

For longtime residents like Elaine Barker, whose mother worked in the Hamel Leather Co. when its shoe linings dominated the industry, it took a while to realize that their future depended on something other than hard industry. But Barker now runs a shop called Paper Potpourri, serving customers throughout the city. “We have to market ourselves and believe in ourselves,’’ she declares.

Haverhill isn’t a boomtown, but the word “renaissance’’ is frequently uttered from the lips of its suddenly unified leadership, from Mayor James Fiorentini to Chamber of Commerce President James Jujuga to the city’s congresswoman, Niki Tsongas. She should know: The model for rebuilding Haverhill is none other than her hometown of Lowell, where her late husband Paul Tsongas brought together the public and private sectors in the ’70s.

There is, of course, no single model for revitalizing Massachusetts’ gateway cities, the mid-sized urban centers that thrived 100 years ago, but have since fallen into economic isolation, separated from their more-prosperous suburbs and forced to take a seat behind Boston as the state’s economic driver.

But every one of the two dozen cities — whether east or west, on rivers or on ocean ports — can tally up its own assets and come up with a strategy to make the most of them. Many have more advantages than Haverhill, but haven’t come together in the same way. Many others have been far too slow to accept that their revival may depend on connecting with other places. Even those as far as 60 miles from Boston can use their housing stock and train lines to attract people who work in the state’s largest city. Many, too, can join with nearby cities to target common industries and share transportation and educational resources. Continued...

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