Geographical aspects of Industrial Parks
Waxer, Stephen J.
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One of the most specialized methods of land use known to modern industry are Industrial Parks. In the strict sense of the term they are "tracts of land which are subdivided and developed according to a comprehensive plan for the use of a community of industries, with streets, rail lead tracks, and utilities installed before sites are sold to prospective occupants." Such Parks may vary in their size, the use to which they are put and the facilities offered. They are all, however, developed according to a plan. The first Parks were built in this country prior to the 20th century, but until 1945 only 33 Parks had been established. These were in the larger cities where labor could reach the factories by the use of public transportation or by walking. Since the end of World War II, over 125 Parks have been built and most of these have been located in the suburbs or on the fringe areas of the cities. The Parks can be an asset to the community in which they are located, whether it be a small town or a large city. Their economic influence can be of major proportion as they provide tax revenue, industrial payrolls, and job opportunities. An industry locating in a Park benefits it many ways. It is assured of pleasant surroundings and compatible neighbors as standards of selection by the owners or managers of a Park are normally high. Modern one-story buildings offered by Industrial Parks make possible the use of horizontal line production and allow the use of modern warehousing methods, thus saving time and money. In general, only two types of activity are common to Industrial Parks. There are light manufacturing and distribution. Other activities, such as research laboratories sales offices, office buildings, and retail sales outlets may be found in some of the Parks. The criteria for a successful Park is its strategic location in regard to labor, transportation and market. The Parks are located on or near major highways and almost all have rail facilities. Those lacking rail facilities are generally small sized Parks. The average size of Industrial Parks has been decreasing for the past few years, and today the average is about 440 acres with the median being 140 acres. The decrease is due in part to rising land and development costs, and to the increase in the number of Parks developed by communities. The number of Parks between 50 and 100 acres is increasing While the number of Parks over 1,000 acres is decreasing. This trend is prominent now in the New England area. Some Industrial Parks in the United States are called Garden-Type Industrial Developments. These differ from ordinary Industrial Parks in land to building ratio only. Garden-Type Parks have less than 1/2 the land built upon, while ordinary Parks build on on up to 2/3 of the land. The New England Industrial Center, in Needham, Massachusetts, is an example of a Garden-type development and is used as a case study in this paper. The New England Industrial Center is a privately developed Park. It was chosen as a case study because of the diversified character of its occupants and because it is the most completely developed Park in Greater Boston. Although it is not large by national standards, this Park offers many of the facilities common to well-developed larger Parks. It was developed in a suburb of Boston according to a plan and had all utilities in before sites were sold. The Park is located on Route 128, a major highway that runs Boston from the North to South Shore, just south of Route 9 and the Massachusetts Turnpike, the two major east-west highways. It is served by two railroads using the same set of track. The first occupant, a warehouse, moved in in 1953 and now the Park which covers 140 acres is about 90% occupied. This Park has proven a success to both the industries located in it and to the comnunity in which it located. Its suburban location leaves little to be desired. These suburban locations have become increasingly popular due both to the rising cost and to the growing scarcity of undeveloped land in the intown areas of cities. This trend will continue because of the greater abundance of peripheral land. Such a peripheral area grows in ever expanding concentric rings with highways leading to it from the central city. Industrial Parks should ideally be spread throughout this area and not concentrated along one of the highways leading from the Central City. Such overconcentration must be prevented by careful planning for the fUture. If not, the same situation of overcrowding and inefficient transportation that is now occurring in older intown industrial areas will repeat itself. Industrial Parks are not isolated entities unto themselves but an integral part of the regional fabric into which they are woven. The successful location of Industrial Parks depends upon a keen awareness of regional trends in commercial and industrial development, in shifting transportation patterns, in the character of existing, industrial real estate, and in changing land values. Careful study of the geographical aspects of Industrial Park location can contribute significantly to the vigor and stability to this newest trend in the American economy.
Thesis (M.A.)--Boston University
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