Kaner Atakan Turker, a doctoral candidate in Clark University's Graduate School of Geography, recently wrote a commentary titled "Worcester 2.0: An outsider’s inside look at the city’s developing future" for the Worcester Sun.
In it, he wrote: “I moved here from Istanbul three years ago for my Ph.D. studies at Clark University. I don’t know how many times I wandered its streets and got distracted by the amazing architecture of its brick buildings. I was shocked by how much it could possibly snow. I had quick lunches in its parks with my dates or took long nighttime walks in its empty streets when I was heartbroken. I had great beers in its bars and breweries, great food in its restaurants, and so many memories on its streets. ...
"Worcester may not be the industrial powerhouse that it used to be; but if it is New England’s second-biggest city, it should be providing a certain level of shelter, security and economic opportunities to its residents.
"Yet Worcester is transforming, and this creates a significant tension that needs to be addressed: People have different approaches regarding what Worcester is and what Worcester should be. And this complicates this process of transformation — which can be very productive, if we create a Worcester that is inclusive of everyone, while it can also be very destructive, if we create a Worcester that is exclusive for the higher socioeconomic strata.
"During Jane Week, I attended six events that gave a glimpse of what Worcester is. Five of these were walks around Worcester — its downtown, Canal District, Shrewsbury Street, old Jewish East Side and Main South. Another was held at Worcester Public Library, where we watched a documentary and held a discussion on what the socioeconomic impacts of revitalization/renewal projects are in Worcester.
"Jane Week reminded us that Worcester is a city of immigrants and the working class, and I was amazed when I listened to its history."