In city redevelopment, go organic

  American Steel & Wire Co., Worcester, about 1905. Worcester used to be nicknamed "The Pittsburgh of New England''.

American Steel & Wire Co., Worcester, about 1905. Worcester used to be nicknamed "The Pittsburgh of New England''.

From Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary,'' in GoLocal24.com:

The Worcester Telegram ran a boosterish editorial on Oct. 22 about its downtown renaissance.

Among its points, which folks in other old New England cities should remember:

“{E}xisting buildings are also being transformed. As opposed to large, government-driven urban renewal projects that once cut off entire neighborhoods and laid waste to broad swaths of midcentury Worcester, what we’re seeing now is different. It’s different in the number of independent private developers, all seeing opportunity here and now, who in their own ways are driving a renewal of the city.’’

“This isn’t some giant urban renewal project. It’s an organic renewal.

“Organic in that so many developers have discovered opportunity here. But a renewal that is far from accidental. It’s not happening on its own. It’s a product of what came before, and of city leadership in both the public and private sectors.

“The fact that all this development is not reliant on a single, large developer or a giant government project, as has happened before and elsewhere, may be its greatest strength. That so many individual developers, all with a vision and a belief in the city’s future prospects, and with the resources and willingness to put those resources at risk, is the sort of development that drove the emergence of Worcester into an industrial giant. Failure by any single developer doesn’t doom the entire enterprise. ‘’

In other words, don’t depend on a few big developers, or one big company  moving in (e.g.,  Amazon), to turn your city around. Diversify your economy,  fix the city’s physical infrastructure and improve the schools.  Companies come and go, with a moment’s notice.