Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.


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



This master’s thesis examines how the density of food-based businesses in New England’s post-industrial urban neighborhoods relates to neighborhood demographic characteristics. The relationship between food-based businesses and demographic change has been examined in larger metropolitan areas like New York City and Chicago and has found that younger, wealthier, and more highly educated residents tend to live where there are greater densities of food businesses. However, there has been little research on the topic in New England’s post-industrial cities that have historically struggled to attract highly sought knowledge workers. I find that food business density and the share of residents employed in creative class professions is positively correlated in most cases; however, over time, the share of creative class workers and food businesses per capita has a negative relationship. Additionally, the share of residents living below the poverty line and food business densities have a significant and positive relationship. Neighborhood racial composition is a less significant factor, overall. In sum, the findings from this study suggest that food business density and creative class populations have a more nuanced relationship in regional post-industrial cities compared to larger metropolitan areas.


First Advisor

Henry Renski

Second Advisor

Mark Hamin

Third Advisor

John Mullin