Who says Rhode Island can’t compete with Massachusetts?
Boston’s Museum of Science handed out its second annual batch of “Invented Here!” awards last month, and The Boston Globe’s Scott Kirsner reports two of the four honorees were Rhode Island companies: IlluminOss Medical Inc. of East Providence and G-Form LLC of Providence.
The event, presented in partnership with the Boston Patent Law Association, “honors New England’s newest and most innovative technologies,” according to a press release. The innovations selected are described as “breakthrough technologies that will fulfill important individual and/or social needs in novel ways, and ensure a more sustainable future for our environment.”
Here are descriptions of the local innovations that won, via a museum press release republished by Kirsner:
IlluminOss Medical Bone Stabilization System
Inventors: Robert Rabiner, Dennis Colleran, Anthony O’Leary, Justin Dye, Mark Drew
Assignee: IlluminOss Medical, Inc. (East Providence, RI)
The patented IlluminOss Photodynamic Bone Stabilization System is a revolutionary orthopedic system for minimally invasive stabilization and treatment of broken bones. The ground breaking IlluminOss Photodynamic Bone Stabilization System fixes fractured bones from the inside out. By positioning a customizable implant into the intramedullary cavity of the fractured bone, support and stability for the bone fracture is achieved as the bone is healing. The system utilizes a photodynamic (light-curable) reinforcing material to customize the implant in the body, and is intended to eliminate the need for traditional, inconvenient and painful methods of bone fixation with external pins, plates and screws.
G-Form Flexible Cushion Pads (Fan Favorite)
Inventors: Daniel Wyner, Richard Fox, Thomas Cafaro, Stephanie Rogers, Ami Newsham, David Foster
Assignee: G-Form, LLC (North Scituate, RI)
G-Form’s proprietary Reactive Protection Technology (RPT™) leverages a composite blend of rate-dependent and other proprietary materials and technologies to provide athletes with superior protection without compromising range-of-motion. Other protective pads can be heavy, hot, non-breathable, and restrictive. G-Form’s pads are lightweight, flexible and conform to your body shape so that they are comfortable and don’t get in your way. On impact, at a molecular level, the pads absorb the shock by stiffening temporarily like body armor, and then immediately return to their soft and flexible form. The harder the impact, the more G-Form’s RPT™ reacts, absorbing 94% of the impact forces. G-Form also integrates the same proprietary RPT™ in to protective cases for cell phones, tablets, and laptops.
Moody’s Investors Service thinks Providence and other cities could reap significant rewards from pushing local tax-exempt institutions to fork over more money. But they should guard against killing the goose that laid the golden egg.
Payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTS, “represent a potential revenue boon for local governments with high concentrations of tax-exempt properties in their tax bases, many of which are in the Northeast,” Moody’s analysts wrote in a research note Tuesday that singled out Boston as a successful example.
“Though far from immanent, greater PILOT revenue comes with long-term risks for some local governments should PILOTs grow so large that they impair not-for-profits’ ability to create jobs and stimulate the economy, or encourage them to move elsewhere,” Moody’s said, adding: “In general, local governments are still far from that tipping point.”
“Efforts by local governments to bolster PILOTs appear to be shaping into a trend,” according to Moody’s. In addition to Providence and Boston, Scranton, Pa.; Worcester, Mass.; Framingham, Mass.; and Newton, Mass., have all sought larger voluntary payments recently.
Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy sent an email appeal Wednesday to seek donations to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, a nonprofit educational center being built on the campus of the UMass Boston.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the institute was held in April, and Kennedy said he expects “significant milestones” in its development next year. He pointed out donations to the nonprofit made before Saturday can be deducted from this year’s tax bills.
“As a young child, I had the great privilege of walking the halls of the Capitol with my dad, Ted Kennedy, as he worked tirelessly to make America live up to its highest ideals,” Kennedy wrote.
Did you know Providence is one of only three large cities in America that grew faster than its surrounding suburbs over the past decade? And Boston is another?
So reports The New York Times (emphasis mine):
[F]or all the buzzy talk of knowledge industry synergy and urban appeal, census figures show that UBS’s return [to New York City from Stamford, Conn.] would be bucking the demographic trends rather than reflecting them and that the suburbs, however unloved by tastemakers and academics, remain where the growth is. …
Joel Kotkin, a writer who specializes in demographic issues, says that the 2010 census figures show that during the past decade just 8.6 percent of the population growth in metropolitan areas with more than a million people took place in city cores. The rest took place in the suburbs, which are home to more than 6 in 10 Americans.
The 8.6 percent is even lower than in the 1990s when the figure was 15.1 percent. … Of the 51 metropolitan areas with more than 1 million residents, only three — Boston, Providence, and Oklahoma City — saw their core cities grow faster than their suburbs.
Interesting. What’s up with that?
(h/t: Doug Lane)
Why is it more expensive to live in Providence than in Boston?
That’s the question I had after seeing this chart in the new Rhode Island economic forecast released by Moody’s Economy.com as part of the Revenue Estimating Conference. It shows the change in consumer prices – that is, inflation – since 2000 for Providence, Boston and the U.S.:
For the last decade (at least), the cost of living has been rising faster in Providence than in nearby Boston or nationwide. While the cost of some individual item may be lower here, prices overall have increased about 33% since 2000 in Providence, compared with 27% in Beantown. Why would that be?
Probably because of rents, according to Zach Sears, Economy.com’s new Rhode Island analyst.
“Providence has had a relatively low [rental] vacancy rate, meaning a tighter market, and this would push up rents,” Sears told me in an e-mail. “This was particularly true in the first half of the last decade, when demographics were more positive and the housing stock was not growing much. This dynamic changed in the second half of the decade, as out-migration turned negative and the housing stock started growing faster, easing these pressures, and vacancy rates increased.”
That makes sense. Rhode Island saw the second-largest increase in the cost of renting a two-bedroom apartment over the last decade, behind only Hawaii, according to a study released earlier this month by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition. A household needs to make $39,853 a year – $19.16 an hour – to cover the $996/month fair-market rent for a two-bedroom in Rhode Island, the study said.
Sears’ analysis is also worrying because the rental vacancy rate in Rhode Island has dropped sharply since 2009, and a tighter market could mean higher rents, as I mentioned back in February. And the same trend is expected to be seen across the U.S., Bloomberg News reported last week:
Apartment rents and occupancies are likely to continue to rise as the U.S. home and labor markets remain depressed, economists said at a conference sponsored by investment-advisory firm Bentall Kennedy. …
U.S. apartment vacancies dropped to the lowest in almost three years in the first quarter as the weak homebuying market fueled demand for rentals, according to Reis Inc. …
An estimated 4 million to 4.5 million people per year in their 20s and early 30s are entering the housing market at a time when 28 percent of American homeowners with mortgages owe more than their houses are worth, Poutasse said yesterday at the conference in Vancouver. So-called echo-boomers desire mobility and see properties with negative equity as a hindrance to selling and moving elsewhere, he said.
“This generation isn’t going to behave the same way with housing,” Poutasse said.