Date of Award


Document type


Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Regional Planning

First Advisor

Henry C. Renski

Second Advisor

John R. Mullin

Third Advisor

Michael A. Ash

Subject Categories

Urban, Community and Regional Planning


Why do some communities thrive after closure of a major employment center such as a military base, while others suffer for many years with long-term unemployment, decaying infrastructure, or other indicators of a weak economy? Through a mixed-methods approach, this paper examines a wide variety of community characteristics from past base closures, builds a model of the most relevant indicators of success or failure, and then offers redevelopment lessons to communities facing base redevelopment. This research incorporates a multivariate statistical analysis including panel regression and then a historical study of the five major BRAC closures in New England. While strong pre-existing economic and social conditions are indicative of successful recovery in many situations, there is no universal set of indicators that can predict success. Nonetheless, there are actions that communities can take to help navigate a military base redevelopment - these include establishing a strong leadership system, aggressively seeking federal and state funding, and orchestrating comprehensive planning that synchronizes market research with available infrastructure and opportunity.