--> Gill Blog: Secondary Communities a New Haven for Business and Lifestyle

Gill Blog

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Secondary Communities a New Haven for Business and Lifestyle

As is the ritual in many families, when the oldest offspring goes off to college it becomes a family affair. This was no different in my family. When my brother secured admission to Yale in the late seventies, mom and dad decided there would be no better way to see him off than to pack us all into the car and make a 10-hour torture drive (not including bathroom and cake breaks at relatives houses along the way) to the storied gates of The Old Campus .

What we experienced when we first arrived in New Haven, Connecticut was never mentioned in any of the tourist guides. It was early evening around dusk, and my folks decided to grab a coffee and donut at a local Dunkin' Donuts outlet while my brother and I found a place to park. We ended up finding a spot a couple of blocks away. By this point, darkness had settled and we found ourselves in a pretty scary place. Storefronts were boarded up and the pungent smell of wafting fumes, stale beer and decay was everywhere. Half the streetlights in the surrounding two blocks were burnt out. Within moments of locking the car, we began to feel the presence of shadowy figures coming out from all the cracks in the darkness of the night. After taking a few steps, we encountered a gang of local hoodlums who began performing very precise and frightening karate kicks very close to our faces. Amid the threats and jeers, it seemed even more of their gang were descending upon us. There was only one thing to do - run; boy did we run. Somehow, we got through that introduction to the community, but it left a lasting impression with me. I planned never again to go to New Haven. It's funny how time has a way of changing everything.

I rediscovered New Haven more than a decade ago (two of my best friends from undergrad live close by - complete with the left turn at Albuquerque), and got the distinct feeling that this was a place that was on the move. Nicely laid out streets, great architecture, a great university, just an hour and a half from Manhattan. New Haven seemed to have it all. Although I didn't fully appreciate it at the time, this town was a place that today could be described as an ideal secondary site location.

Not only are my impressions of New Haven of more than a decade ago completely confirmed by this article, recently published by the Hartford Courant, but it also aligns perfectly with the publication of our latest research on the qualities of great secondary communities. New Haven is one of a number of examples of communities in the United State and Canada that are not only being discovered for their lifestyle amenities, but as great places to do business, too. The abstract of our Research Paper can be read here, and a multimedia presentation on this topic will be published here early next week.


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