Mass Economics is a research and consulting firm that specializes in urban economic growth and equity.
Inclusion and Opportunity
The past 40 years of economic history have made it clear that economic growth alone does not lead to equality – or even to equal opportunity. Our work aims to ensure that the benefits of economic growth span geographies and demographic groups. Our strategies to increase equality and opportunity have included strengthening neighborhood entrepreneurship and local clusters, leveraging infrastructure investments to reimagine opportunities in disinvested areas, helping train local leaders in neighborhood planning, and identifying underutilized land assets for innovative redevelopment in disinvested areas.
Large-Scale Economic Strategies
Cities require broad-based strategies to achieve catalytic change. We work closely with our clients and partners to address foundational economic, land use, and inequality challenges. Our staff led the economic development strategy for one of the largest, most transformative urban strategy projects ever undertaken. We have also addressed repositioning cities in the global economy, addressing the skills and spatial mismatches between employers and employees, and revitalizing core city areas to the benefit of neighborhood residents, as well as the city and region.
In the past decade, profound economic, demographic, technological and cultural shifts have radically altered the spatial geography of innovation and increasingly, of opportunity. Our most creative institutions, firms, and workers value proximity and integration so that knowledge can be transferred and built upon quickly and seamlessly. Our diverse population demands more and better choices in where they live, work, and play – across building types, neighborhoods, and jurisdictions. And our more open, networked way of life is shifting and accelerating how firms and people interact, how ideas flow, and how places – from research labs to mixeduse developments to neighborhoods – are designed. Mass Economics’ urban innovation projects reimagine cities for the 21st century, whether we are developing measurement and evaluation frameworks for clients, designing new educational models, developing strategies for Innovation Districts, or convening national experts to discuss the opportunities and challenges of innovation-focused economic development.
Many urban areas face what might be called a land paradox: vast swaths of blight and vacancy but few developable sites, conditions that exacerbate income and opportunity inequality in cities. Mass Economics works with cities on economic development strategies tailored to absorb available land while recognizing the constraints that land assets impose on short-term growth options. We have worked with urban stakeholders on linking land assets and growth clusters, developing industrial growth strategies, rationalizing industrial land holdings, utilizing land assets to spur economic growth in low- and moderate-income areas, and identifying long-term strategies for reuse of vacant land. Our urban land framework explicates the relationship between land challenges and economic opportunity and provides strategies to address land issues.