Recently, I have been trying to inaugurate a slightly different (from TOD : Transit Oriented Development) concept with my graduate students at the University of Hartford couple years now, which is Jobs Oriented Development (JOD). Unlike TOD, which is a people exporter, JOD is a people importer. People seeking jobs also seek to live near where they work. People stay in their communities. They just need sturdy facilities, sturdy enough to house manufacturing job opportunities from which to grow new neighborhoods.
Right now, my students are investigating complete form-based neighborhoods surrounding the Colt Manufacturing buildings, and other abandoned industrial facilities along the Connecticut River just south of the Capitol in Hartford. Other job opportunities of this site can be found on now-fallow agricultural lands, capitalizing on the frequently flooding Connecticut River's rich organic soil deposits.
Significant to CNU-NE is the fact that New England has a rare untapped (and now long abandoned) resource, which are all the water powered (i.e. free non-fossil fuel energy) mills that used to (right up through WWII) run the entire country from the 6 New England states, mostly Connecticut, which had 4,700 of the damn things, like this:
Not too shabby sturdy manufacturing facility (no CMU in evidence).
JOD could be the theme of a new CNU - CNU/NE - FCNU Council, perhaps in New Hampshire. The Fellows (FCNU) could be involved bringing gravitas, out of the box thinking and motivation. And CNU has NEVER looked at the jobs side of walkable neighborhood creation. This could be a whole new chapter in the CNU saga, possibly moving into a future Congress.
Recently, I discovered another JOD compatriot in arms, on the West Coast in Seattle, with whom I’ve been conversing for a while. Rod Stevens is a Stanford/Dartmouth-Tuck graduate, who has been following what started as “beer and bread” artisan maker-spaces (Artisan Asylum in Somerville, and a million other places nation wide) as they turned into high tech software design maker-space (Greentown Labs in Somerville, and a number of places nationwide, usually near higher-ed tech, such as MIT, IIT, Cal Tech, etc.), and Rod sees a new trend underway called Advanced Manufacturing, which is basically building on the former two trends to bring higher paying jobs and more productive industries. But they’re happy to share space, just like the previous maker-spaces.
Advanced Manufacturing does not need to be near higher-ed tech, and New Hampshire seems to be showing the most hunger for this new kind of industry, as identified by Rod. Rod is reaching out to his Tuck contacts to locate people and places that might make the best location for a Council, perhaps next spring (Rod says, "30 years ago, there were Tuck people dominating a prominent manufacturing firm in Nashua that owned Wheelabrator Frye and others. They gave a talk to my finance class on how to raid the pension fund for financing buy-outs!”). These kind of ideas, higher pay, and the still strong desire to live near where you work could make Advanced Manufacturing the most dynamic challenge to land-hungry-car-dominated seemingly irreversibly-failing cities all across the country.
I wasn’t able to go, but Manchester hosted an Advanced Manufacturing Conference this past Saturday. But here’s a link to a recent article on what’s going on in New Hampshire, leading the charge:
‘Time is now’ for action on manufacturing - New Hampshire Business Review - October 16 2015