CENTER FOR LOWELL HISTORY UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL LIBRARIES

Home     Digital Photographs     Genealogy Resources     Special Collections     Search
 
ROOTS AND DREAMS: TWENTY YEARS OF THE 
HUMAN SERVICES CORPORATION
 
     Lowell's extraordinary revival over the past twenty years has been reported worldwide.  The fundamental change is that the city has been recast as a historical park whose physical and cultural resources are being preserved as a national treasure. It is important to remember that this change for the better is the result of the imagination, passion, and persistence of Lowell people.  Working in the schools, downtown, and in the neighborhoods beginning in the 1960's, people who believed that new life could be breathed into the city shaped a plan for a radically different kind of "park" based on Lowell's heritage and way of life.  Early on, this idea was called the "Urban National Cultural Park."

     The Park was only one piece of HSC's overall plan to create a model system for delivering every type of service: health, education, housing, recreation, and more.  The genius of the plan is that the services are integrated and provided by a multi-purpose organization.  This was the concept for a Center for Human Development, which reflects the global thinking of Patrick J. Mogan and the others.  The Human Services Corporation was to be a "neutral ground" where various institutions and organizations could work together to further individual and community development.  In effect, HSC became the Center for Human Development.

     Both the Park and Center emerged from the grassroots planning process of Lowellians working through the Model Cities Program, a federal urban development program begun in 1966.  In her analysis of Lowell's revitalization, scholar Loretta Ryan writes that "Model Cities was often seen as an improvement upon the demolition-oriented, neighborhood-destroying urban renewal program in its attention to social concerns."

     Looking for ways to revive the downtown and neighborhoods, residents working through the Model Cities Program had established the following goals:

          Use of the city as a learning laboratory;

          Improvement of the environment so as to 
            reinforce its unique historical aspects;

          Increased respect for the cultural heritage 
            of Lowell's people;

          Preservation and enhancement of historic 
            resources as a strategy for economic 
            revitalization.  (Source: Report of the 
            Lowell Historic Canal District 
            Commission, 1977)

     The Human Services Corporation, in collaboration with city planners, consultants, business leaders, elected representatives, public officials, and community groups, turned these goals into a platform on which to rebuild the city.  Funding from the New England Regional Commission and Community Development Block Grant

Top Of Page    Previous Page or Next Page