The Rau Fastner building before and after redevelopment. Photos by Teresa Mastrorilli courtesy of AIR.

WBEZ is embarking on a new series that I’m very excited about. They’re teaming up with other Midwest stations and the CPB to create a reporting initiative focused on the region’s economy. Specifically on its transformation from an economy that is “fundamentally industrial based” to one that can only be described as “post-manufacturing.”

Reading about this new project reminded me of similar reporting I have done on the post-industrial economy of southern New England. When I was in college I spent two and half years chronicling Providence’s fraught transformation from industrial powerhouse to post-industrial dead zone to supposed arts Mecca. The initial result was the documentary Reconstructing Providence.

In addition, between 2004 and 2005 I wrote several features pieces for the Providence Phoenix (their equivalent of the Chicago Reader) exploring “the new fight for Providence’s mills.”

Here are the pieces I wrote during that time, all edited by the excellent Ian Donnis.

The New Fight for Providence’s Mills

Converting industrial buildings into housing threatens to eliminate a surprisingly robust source of jobs and small businesses

Pawtucket Makes Its Move

Redevelopment and an influx of artists are adding vitality, but Rhode Island’s newest renaissance city still faces its share of challenges

Housing Crunch

Although the plight of artists and affordable housing has gained more attention since Eagle Square, things are not necessarily any better

Rau Fastener offers a new model for affordable lofts

City Watch
Conley touts a face lift for Allens Avenue waterfront

(Editor’s Note: Six years later I’m cringing at all the confusing multi-clause sentences in these pieces. Ayee! How did Ian let me get away with that??)