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Alyssa Thomas


During the industrial revolution, northern cities were abundant with industrial building and neighborhood jobs. As cities began to deindustrialize for a variety of market and policy reasons, neighborhoods faced decades of disinvestment, and many of the industrial buildings became vacant or underutilized and residents under or unemployed.

Industrial buildings in these communities where jobs have vacated are now being repurposed across New York and Philadelphia, sometimes they remain industrial, oftentimes, they convert into residential or mixed use development. The latter resulting in a trade out of middle class industrial jobs, for a trade in of luxury apartments and low wage service sector jobs.

My research studies the economic impact on communities of preserving industrial land for small batch manufacturers utilizing New York as a cautionary tale as Philadelphia grapples with the future of its legacy of manufacturing and industrial land.