Economic Social Development of Regions

News & Events

Economic and Social Development of Regions Program News & Events

VOICES: Perspectives on Economic and Social Development   

May 2012 marked the publication of the inaugural edition of Voices:Perspectives on Economic and Social Development (pdf) - a student generated academic journal that features articles, interviews, and commentary from ESDR students. This project was awarded a Campus Catalyst grant and is received additional support from the Merrimack Valley Sandbox. The premier edition was produced by Rochelle Reid and Mike Slone.

RESD Professor Named Director of Middle East Center

RESD Professor Paula Rayman was recently named director of the UMass Lowell's Middle East Center for Peace, Development, and Culture. The Center fosters partnerships in a number of academic disciplines between the University and educational institutions in the Middle East. Find out more about the Middle East Center

Video on "Tent Cities" Produced by RESD Students

A mini documentary on "Tent Cities appearing around the United States was recently completed by students Jenn Russell and Thomas Grindstead. News clips from various organizations and an interview with RESD professor Bob Forrant are featured. The video was created as part of coursework in RESD's Sustainable Housing and Land Use Policy class.

Article by RESD Student, Professor Appears in Lowell Sun   Newspaper

In December, an article written by RESD student Kathryn Hakcett and RESD professor Bob Forrant (pdf) appeared in the Lowell Sun newspaper. The article covers numerous pollutants affecting water quality in the Merrimack River, a source of drinking water for thousands of Lowell-area residents. Kathryn completed her graduate capstone project with the Merrimack River Watershed Council, an organization working to improve water bodies in the region. 

RESD Alumni Offer Career Advice to Current Students

In November, the RESD Club hosted an event where RESD Alumni shared experience and wisdom with current students on careers and Ph.D. programs. For newer students, this was an opportunity to consider various fields of work, and to gain direction for their studies. For students later in the program, this was a networking opportunity and a chance to gain practical advice about searching for jobs and Ph.D. programs. 

One Professor's Take On the Financial Crisis

UMass Lowell Professor William Lazonick has taken an in-depth look at the economy and the reasons why it is in a weak state. According to Lazonick, a lack of job security, a disappearing middle class, and companies buying back their stocks are the key factors in the weakened economy. He has written a book on the subject, "Sustainable Prosperity in the New Economy? Business Organization and High Tech Employment in the US," published in 2009.  Read More . . .

Institute Grantee Contributes Op-ed Piece in Financial Times

A Financial Times op-ed piece was recently penned by RESD professor and Center for Industrial Competitiveness co-director William Lazonick. He critiques shareholder value ideology in the context of the current financial crisis. This issue and others are covered in Lazonick's book "Sustainable Prosperity in the New Economy? Business Organization and High-Tech Employment in the United States," published by the Upjohn Institute in 2009. Read More . . . (pdf)

Work, Social Inequalities and Work in Massachusetts

John Wooding, David Wegman and Kimberly Rauscher published chapter on work, social inequalities and health in Massachusetts as part of a collection of essays on the relationship class, work and health in Europe.  See: Lundberg, Ingvar; Hemmingsson, Tomas and Hogstedt, Christer (eds.), Work and Social Inequalities in Health in Europe, Brussels, Peter Lang, 2007. Read More . . .(pdf)

Professor Pyle Co-Edits a Symposium

Jean L. Pyle, Professor Emerita in the Department of Regional Economic and Social Development (RESD) and Senior Associate of the Center for Women and Work (CWW) at UMass Lowell, co-edited a symposium on “Globalization, Transnational Migration, and Gendered Care Work” that appeared in the September 2006 issue of the journal Globalizations. Pyle wrote the Introduction and contributed an article “Globalization and the Increase in Transnational Care Work: The Flip Side.”  Read More . . .(pdf)

The Governance We Deserve

As faculty members, we both loved teaching, writing, and the academic life. As administrators, we came to appreciate a whole new side of academia and felt that we might, in some small ways, make our campus a better place for the students, faculty, and staff. It was exhilarating. But we continued to rub up against the harsh realities of public higher education: the endless struggles over money, the cold fact that there would never be enough to fund most good ideas, let alone every good idea.  Read More...

RESD Club named GSA Club of the Year

The Department of Regional Economic and Social Development (RESD) earned accolades at the Graduate Student Association spring awards banquet in May, 2008. The department’s student club was chosen as club of the year and one of its faculty members, Prof. Chris Tilly, was named faculty member of the year.

Robert Forrant's New Book: 

Metal Fatigue: American Bosch and the Demise of Metalworking in the Connecticut River Valley

On February 4, 1986, the lives of thousands of workers changed in ways they could only begin to imagine. On that day, United Technologies Corporation ordered the closure of the 76-year-old American Bosch manufacturing plant in Springfield, Massachusetts, capping a nearly 32-year history of job loss and work relocation from the sprawling factory. The author, a former Bosch worker and the business agent for the union representing nearly 1,200 Bosch employees when the plant closed, interjects his personal recollections into the story.

Buy Robert Forrant's new book.

How UMass Lowell Can Boost Downtown

Patricia Coffey suggests ways that UMass Lowell can partner with the city to improve the downtown area in this Lowell Sun article (pdf).

Forrant and Chalupka Published in Mass Benchmarks   

RESD faculty member Robert Forrant and graduate student Anne Chulupka recently published a paper in Mass Benchmarks entitled, "Prospects in the Northeast". Read more...(pdf)

Better Community Interaction Key to NPS Grant

A three-year, $100,000 grant from the Lowell National Historic Park has set into motion an ambitious, historic study.

RESD Professor Receives Creative Economy Fund Grant from UMass President’s Office

A partnership between Professor Robert Forrant of RESD, the Cultural Organization of Lowell and the Revolving Museum has received a $35,000 grant (pdf) from the University of Massachusetts President’s Office Creative Economy Fund to support a two-pronged project on behalf of Lowell’s creative economy. 

An education on immigration Students learn firsthand during summer break

When students hear the words "summer job," they usually think about bagging groceries or flipping burgers. However, a summer job can also mean a unique learning opportunity and a chance to become involved in the community. Five high school students and five University of Massachusetts Lowell graduate students had just such an opportunity this summer, working on two projects. 

Read more... (pdf)

RESD Student's Study of Gillette Shows a History of Putting Profits Before People

Gillette, the famed razor maker, made headlines in January 2005 when it was acquired by Procter & Gamble for $57 billion, creating what investor Warren Buffett called "the greatest consumer products company in the world."  Gillette, one of the largest manufacturers in Massachusetts, made headlines again in May 2006 when it announced it was closing a packaging plant in Devens, Massachusetts, immediately eliminating 100 jobs and threatening another thousand at a neighboring plant where Gillette has not renewed its lease.  The closing came despite earlier assurances that the acquisition would not lead to job losses in the state.

But according to a study by RESD student Sara White, this kind of behavior is nothing new for Gillette.  The makers of the Mach 3 razor and other familiar products had been downsizing and offshoring for years, as company earnings increased.  At the Devens packaging facilities, they use an almost entirely temporary workforce staffed primarily by Latinos from nearby Lawrence.  A survey of Gillette temps reviewed by White shows that many depend on food stamps and Medicaid (MassHealth) while working at Gillette.  White estimates that the total cost to the state of these two assistance programs alone for Gillette workers has been $3.5 million per year.  Employees complained of insecurity, discrimination, and abusive treatment.

White's research was completed in November 2005, and the study was released by the University of Massachusetts Lowell's Center for Industrial Competitiveness in July 2006. 

For questions about the study, contact Sara White.

RESD Grad and Professor Recognized for Research on Wal-Mart in Mexico

Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in Mexico, as it is in the United States.  How good are the jobs there?  RESD graduate José Luis Álvarez Galván (MA 2005, now a doctoral student at the London School of Economics) and Professor Chris Tilly have researched this and other questions about the retail industry in Mexico.  The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette recently highlighted their work in an article about Wal-Mart jobs around the world.  (Read  the article). 

Tilly and Álvarez Galván, working with a larger research team that included MA students Patricia Jiménez and Elena Blanco as well as 2005 graduate Beth O’Donnell, used interviews with managers and workers, a review of union contracts (yes, Wal-Marts in Mexico are unionized!), and other data sources to reach their conclusions.  Álvarez Galván wrote his MA thesis about the impact of Wal-Mart on the Mexican retail sector.  Tilly has presented the research in Mexico, Argentina, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, as well as within the United States.  He is now working with other researchers to compare retail jobs in Mexico with those in the United States and five European countries.  

RESD Student Helps Community Residents Decode Lawrence's Budget

As part of the HUD Fellowship Program, RESD student Jeff Muckensturm has worked with Lawrence Community Works to help promote better community understanding and participation in the budgeting process of the city of Lawrence , not far from Lowell .  Lawrence ’s low-income and Latino majority were shut out of the budgeting process and LCW wanted to do something about it.

Working closely with LCW’s organizing staff, Alma Couverthie and Marianna Leavy-Sperounis, Jeff helped create a community-led participatory action research project that resulted in the “People’s Guide to the Lawrence City Budget” which was published last summer.  Since producing the “Guide,” Jeff has join community organizers and leaders at LCW strategizing about building Participatory Budgeting, popular in Brazil and parts of Africa, into the Lawrence city budgeting process.

The following article, published in the Boston Globe, tells about the results of hard work all the community leaders, organizers, and Jeff have put into this effort to understand Lawrence’s city budget. Read the Boston Globe Article (pdf)