Fall 2006

Fall 2006

A tale of two valleys

A tale of two valleys

Holyoke tries to grab some of the happy vibes from its college-town neighbors to the north

The first signs of life downtown are at Open Square,a renovated mill complex. The pioneer valley of western Massachusetts is not one valley but two. To those who think of it as Amherst or Northampton, it is a land of cafés, bookstores, and lively public spaces. Pedestrians swarm the sidewalks, bicyclists wait patiently at traffic(...)

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Spend shift

Over the past century, shelter has replaced food as our biggest household
budget buster

A long line at JP Licks is an inconvenience, but it may also signal a turning point in Boston’s spending habits. While the rest of the country spends less and less on food, we’ve started a reverse trend, devoting more of our paychecks to eating in and dining out—which may explain the recent proliferation of(...)

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THE LONG VIEW

THE LONG VIEW

boston’s recovery from the last recession has been slow and uneven. Some sectors of the region’s economy have crept back to pre-recession employment levels, while others—notably, information technology—remain below early 2000 peaks. More importantly, the road back has been marked by worrisome signs of ground lost to other regions, with a number of major hometown(...)

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Statistically Significant

Statistically Significant

Illustrations by Travis Foster the graying of the do-gooders According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, volunteerism is on the decline in Massachusetts, while it’s flat in the nation as a whole. The CNCS survey indicated that 27.0 percent of Bay State residents over 16 did volunteer work in 2005, down from 28.2(...)

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New neighbors

New neighbors

Cape cod apparently saw a lot of moving vans last year, but the South Coast was unusually quiet in home-buying activity. The larger map below shows the number of single-family homes and condos (both new and pre-owned) sold for every 10,000 current residents in each town. Provincetown (population: 3,400), was the clear leader in the(...)

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A fading Dream

All summer and fall, we at CommonWealth, in tandem with our MassINC colleagues, have been at work on a series of background papers on key issues and trends in Massachusetts, including national comparisons and town-by-town data. Taken together, the eight CommonWealth Agenda 2006 essays sketch out the state of the American Dream in Massachusetts on(...)

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Letters

I really enjoyed Dave Denison’s “Tax Talk” (CW, Summer ’06). Just a few response items. Point 1: Dave asks if 10 percent of income is “too much for a middle-class family to pay in order to have decent public schools, police and fire protection, roads and sewers, and state services provided for the health and(...)

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Treatment discontinued

Treatment discontinued

Town and state officials agreed on what to do with Medfield State Hospital, but then time ran out

medfield When it opened in 1897, the Medfield Insane Asylum represented the latest thinking in psychiatric care. Huge institutional buildings had been the norm for state psychiatric hospitals, but the Medfield asylum looked more like a prep school than a prison; the three-story brick buildings, on several hundred acres of farmland and forest bordering the(...)

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