Catch up on GRI’s Whitepaper Series

‘GRI Whitepaper Wednesday’ is a weekly series produced by GRI’s network of expert researchers, faculty affiliates, and resilience champions. By offering in-depth industry perspectives and actionable resilience strategies, these whitepapers play a crucial role in strengthening safety and resilience for communities across the world.

As part of the series, GRI released 11 Special Investigation Reports focused on the impact of COVID-19 in New England supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). These reports brought together analysis and policy recommendations in cross-cutting critical areas in New England including municipal and state budgets, housing, food, healthcare, K-12 education, childcare, higher education, small business, energy, and fisheries.

Each sector-specific report was authored by subject matter experts from GRI’s Faculty Affiliates at Northeastern and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory, providing a detailed, accessible review of the challenges, opportunities and actionable policy considerations in each area facing the COVID-19 crisis.

In case you missed any of these reports, go through the list below for full and free access:

  1. An Equitable, Clean Energy Recovery for New England
    Before the pandemic, New England states were among national leaders in implementing aggressive policies to promote clean energy and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. But the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted this transition, creating an immediate need for massive federal investment to stimulate a recovery. In this whitepaper, Joan Fitzgerald offers insight into the various strategies individual Governments can employ to ensure that communities most negatively impacted by the pandemic can benefit from incentives like job creation, energy efficiency, clean energy, and improved air quality.
  2. A Global Disruption Requires a Global Response: Policies for Building International Business Resilience For this and Future Pandemicse
    As economies around the world chose to deal with the pandemic based on the individual needs of their citizenry, its impact on international businesses and their own economies was almost immediate. In this whitepaper, authors Luis Dau and Elizabeth Moore argue for an integrated global response instead. Based on a series of interviews with international businesses in New England, United States, the authors propose a global response plan for policymakers and offer solutions with the aim promoting a speedy recovery and containing damage to the global economy.
  3. ‘The Childcare Industry in New England
    With the abrupt and immediate closure of daycare and schools during the COVID19 pandemic, childcare arrangements, both formal and informal were completely upended. With the rate of childcare usage being above the U.S. average (53.9%) in all six New England states, ranging from a low of 55.0% in Rhode Island to 69.7% in Massachusetts, parents were left scrambling to make impossible decisions. In this whitepaper, author Alicia Modestino meticulously breaks down the economic impact of the pandemic on the childcare industry and the many sacrifices made by women and people of color to ensure the safety and security of their children and loved ones.
  4. The Impacts to New England’s Commercial Fisheries
    New England’s commercial fishing communities have received severe socioeconomic impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With all facets of fisheries disrupted, the loss of revenue has been so vast that in some cases fishers chose to fish less or not at all. In this whitepaper by Jonathan Grabowski and Steve Scyphers we learn that while major disruptions to New England’s seafood industry are likely to continue, redesigning supply chains and increasing consumer education could help boost recovery.
  5. K-12 Education in New England
    With New England’s K-12 schools shifting online during the COVID-19 pandemic, the vital role they play within the community as a social service provider to children and their families was completely disrupted. The absence of a physical school left many communities in crisis, with key education and social welfare services no longer accessible. In this whitepaper, authors Emily A. Mann and Lori Gardinier highlight key intersecting issues and constituents that should be considered in the development and implementation of practices, programs, and policies that support the future of K-12 education, especially for vulnerable communities during this pandemic and beyond.
  6. Local Business Recovery and Resilience in New England: Response to COVID-19
    The pandemic has caused local businesses to either permanently shutter or drastically reduce operations dealing a devastating blow to local economies in New England. In this whitepaper, authors Luis Dau and Elizabeth Moore employ a mixed method technique by conducting interviews and analyzing data on consumer spending from the Mastercard Retail Location Insights (MCRLI) database in 18 communities across all 6 New England states with stakeholders from the public and private sectors. Their findings support unique solutions that bolster recovery and provide support for future resilience.
  7. The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on the Health Care Sector in New England
    The United States health care system has been under devastating pressure since the pandemic began last year. In this whitepaper, authors Mark Hernandez, James Balcius and Mischa Shattuck from MIT Lincoln Labs, dive deep into the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the US health care system and its long-term implications on recovery and resilience. Please note, this paper includes insights at the national and state level with a focus on FEMA Region 1 – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
  8. Food System Resilience in New England
    Americans are accustomed to a centralized food system that delivers plentiful, diverse, and inexpensive food. In this whitepaper by Christopher Bosso, we learn about the massive disruptions to this system during the pandemic and its impact on key stakeholders across the ecosystem. The paper offers recommendations by addressing challenges like food insecurity, and the pressures faced by local and regional producers, processors, and retailers, who are often overshadowed by their much larger national and international counterparts.
  9. Housing Insecurity in New England
    One of the hardest hit populations during the pandemic were those facing housing insecurity. With social distancing and tough state-specific rules, most homeless shelters either shut down temporarily or drastically limited their intake. In this paper by Ted Landsmark, we learn about why a comprehensive and transformative review of housing needs and investment policies is an immediate need in New England. The paper also offers recommendations that address the multiple opportunities to generate new jobs through support for housing development.
  10. Economic Needs of New England State and Local Governments in Pandemic Recovery
    The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a contraction of economic activity at unprecedented speed and magnitude. While state and local governments experienced large decreases in revenue inflow, their expenditure outflow remained exceptionally high, supporting public education and social welfare and public health programs. In this whitepaper by Robert K Triest, reviews the impact of the pandemic-driven decline in economic activity in New England on state and local government finances, it identifies policy considerations, and discusses specific policy recommendations to reinforce recovery.
  11. Higher Education in New England – Planning a Post-COVID-19 Recovery
    The New England Commission on Higher Education accredits over 200 public and private colleges and universities across the six states within the region, giving New England a larger per capita percentage of higher education institutions than any other region in the United States. In this paper by Ted Landsmark we learn about the deep impact of the pandemic on New England’s higher education system and inter-dependent recovery strategies that could help with recovery. The report also acknowledges that many New England college communities have been sites of racial injustice demonstrations in 2020, and that higher education is a resource for addressing racial disparities in diverse populations across the region.­

 To see more resilience news, expert publications, and upcoming events, visit