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The Worcester Way: A philosophy for our city-making

Worcester is a creative city, defined by a history of scientific, business, and artistic innovation. Despite having suffered a decline in manufacturing and loss of businesses and people to other regions, Worcester is currently experiencing an influx of new investment and rebuilding. In the face of the changing role of cities worldwide, the education and cultural communities of Worcester began asking, “What is Worcester’s new role and purpose? What sort of city do we want Worcester to be?” This document is the first step of the Creative City Initiative, a city-wide collaboration of those who care about Worcester to help shape its future as a great place to live and work.

Goals for Worcester

Worcester’s past and present is founded on immigration, diversity, and dynamic neighborhoods. For Worcester to remain an attractive world city, we must embrace not only the bio-technology and healthcare industrial sectors, but also the burgeoning green and creative sectors, while continuing to support the existing infrastructure of our neighborhoods, like diners, bakeries, auto repair shops, printers, and the other businesses that make Worcester what it is. Worcester must also have a safe, vibrant, and welcoming downtown that can support an 18-hour street life. Economic development in the city cannot be undertaken without considering regional, national, and global connections and environmental impacts.

The focus of Worcester’s future growth cannot be limited to traditional elements of economic development. All Worcester residents expect a high quality of life, including high-quality public services, such as primary, secondary and adult education, elder services, public health and public safety. Above all, Worcester must be accessible to all with affordable housing, high-quality public transportation, and the accommodation of youth, senior citizens, people with disabilities, non-traditional families, and people for whom English is a second language.

Worcester’s future depends on confident, clear, and accessible leadership that inspires and responds to civic engagement. Together, we can create a climate for civic dialogue that sets conditions to think, plan, and act with imagination. Worcester citizens are the stewards of change, and we can encourage individuals to become leaders and advocate for change. Our city’s leaders can build unique partnerships and collaborations to develop creative projects that break civic, professional and social boundaries, support Worcester’s neighborhoods, and move the city’s economy into the future.

Call for Action

The Worcester Way is to support and encourage action that meets these creative goals by always keeping in mind the following:

  • Cultivate, nurture and reward creativity anytime, anywhere. Ensure that every Worcester resident has the opportunity to be creative and innovative.
  • Value risk-taking and invest in opportunity-making. Remove regulatory barriers and encourage unique and interesting projects.
  • Celebrate and support Worcester’s strengths, such as its diversity of people, history and architecture, arts and culture, restaurants and nightlife, innovators and entrepreneurs, schools and parks, and events and sports.
  • Inspire and encourage civic engagement. Collaborate. Let all stakeholders share responsibility for positive change. Refuse to support mediocrity, intolerance, disconnectedness, sprawl, poverty, bad schools, exclusivity, and social and environmental degradation.
  • Be authentic and distinct. Develop and market Worcester’s existing, unique assets.