Monday, February 22, 2016

How Manchester, New Hampshire, got its old mills spinning 21st century gold

My latest installment for Politico Magazine's "What Works" series is out and explores how a northern New England city turned a massive, nearly vacant 19th century mill complex into a 21st century knowledge industry powerhouse.

Manchester, New Hampshire -- a planned Utopian industrial city -- was home to the world's largest textile factory, a nearly 7 million foot red brick complex that by the mid-1960s was largely abandoned. But by accepting the fact that the old manufacturing industries weren't coming back -- and the arrival of a "world famous inventor colorful enough to have invited comparisons to Thomas Edison, Willy Wonka and Dr. No" -- the once moribund city has cultivated a high tech cluster in its old millyard.

Hunter S. Thompson had some choice words for the Union-Leader to kick off the piece, but that didn't stop that paper from giving the story some nice coverage this weekend.

This is my second piece as a Politico contributing editor. My first: this widely circulated story on how Des Moines went from dull to cool.

[Update, 1/25/16: talked with WNHN's Arnie Arnesen about the story on her syndicated Pacifica Radio show.]

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