MMR Headshot - Marcos A. Marrero (1).PNG

Marcos Marrero

Director of Planning and Economic Development

Topic: Regrowing the Forest After a Fire – How Holyoke Approaches it’s Revitalization

Popular conceptions held by local residents and stakeholders in post-industrial cities can often reflect a perception of self-blame and of low self-worth as a cause for economic decline. Accordingly, local economic development paradigms often focus on fixing local problems with external solutions such as “bringing” or “attracting” business and job creation, “incentivizing” business through public subsidies, or reducing almost any public accountability measure as a form of increasing local attractiveness through a “business friendly” face. In recent years, Holyoke, MA – once the paper-making capital of the world – has enacted an ambitious economic revitalization agenda based on a different paradigm, and inspired by the way in which a forest regrows after a fire.


Marcos is the Director of Planning & Economic Development for the City of Holyoke, where he oversees the implementation of the largest urban renewal plan in Massachusetts, Co-Chairs the Holyoke Innovation District and serves as Executive Director to two public development corporations. He has a background in policy and public projects in areas related to economic development, urban affairs and sustainability. Previously, Marcos has served in the Puerto Rico Governor's Office as Deputy Adviser on Federal Affairs, Energy & Climate Change, and has served at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Corporation. Marcos holds a dual Masters in Public Affairs and Urban & Regional Planning from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and a BA in Economics and Political Science from the University of Puerto Rico. He lives in Center City Holyoke.