Publication Date



The Center for Economic Development at the University of Massachusetts, in Amherst, is part of the Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning Department, and is funded by the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the University of Massachusetts.


The words "industrial development" and "downtown revitalization" are very rarely used in the same sentence. As a resident of New England, one can not ignore the fact that all of our cities were founded on, and developed and grew as a result of industrial development. One needs only take a drive through any New England City and see the multi-storied red brick or granite mill buildings. In the first quarter of this century, virtually all of these mill buildings were in operation, producing goods that were shipped throughout North America and even the world. In the late 1920s, due to strikes and the "Great Depression", manufacturing began to slowly decline in New England. This decline has, for many more reasons, continued to the present. Likewise, since the late 1940s city's downtowns have also experienced a decline, which has also lasted in many instances to the present. Efforts have been undertaken to stem the tide of industrial and downtown decline, but very rarely, if ever, in concert. As I have written in the first part of this project, cities across America have developed and implemented "revitalization" plans to turn their downtowns around, but these plans' strategies have by and large concentrated in two areas: 1. attracting pedestrians downtown and 2. promoting office development. Downtown revitalization strategies to reindustrialize the inner city have been missing. Likewise, many industrial development plans have concentrated on the development of campus-like industrial parks in the "greenfields". What is clear is that many planning and economic development professionals have either ignored or taken for granted the economic importance of industrial blue collar workers whose plants are located in or on the fringe of the central business district (CBD).

The following field work paper is part II of a two part project. In part I, I researched the connection between industry and strategies for revitalization of downtown. In part II, I have concentrated my study on the economic impact of industrial workers on the downtowns of the Montachusetts region's cities of Gardner, Fitchburg, and Leominster. Specifically, I have researched the location and selected socio-economic profile of.the Montachusetts region, workers spending habits in the downtown, and the presence and economic impact of industrial workers on the downtown's of Gardner, Fitchburg and Leominster.


Section 7: Pages 1-42