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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Regional Planning

Degree Type

Master of Regional Planning (M.R.P.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



In recent years, industrial preservation policies, which aim to preserve urban industrial activity and industrial employment often through the preservation of industrial land, have emerged as a flashpoint in cities across the country that have implemented these policies. While critics contend that industrial preservation policies amount to smokestack chasing in “post-industrial” cities like New York City, industrial preservationists argue that such policies help to preserve well-paying, middle-class jobs and thus represent a tool to mitigate rising income inequalities in cities. Despite considerable attention to these policies, minimal research has evaluated the effectiveness of industrial preservation policies as land use and economic development planning tools. This paper inserts itself into the debate surrounding the utility of industrial preservation policies by evaluating the effectiveness of New York City’s 2006 Industrial Business Zone (IBZ) program. Specifically, this paper uses propensity scoring to evaluate various measures of urban industrial activity in designated IBZs compared to a control group of similar areas. This paper finds that IBZs outperformed the control group in terms of better stemming industrial employment losses and industrial land decline. The control group, however, provided a more favorable climate to industrial business starts and performed about the same as IBZs in encouraging capital investments in industrial infrastructure. These findings suggest that the IBZ program yielded mixed results in its efforts to both attract and retain urban industry.


First Advisor

Henry Renski

Second Advisor

Mark Hamin

Third Advisor

John Mullin