Publications by Jim O’Connell

Books by James C. O’Connell

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I once heard historian David McCullough say at a conference held in Pittsburgh, his hometown, that he wrote his first book, The Johnstown Flood, when he set out to learn about the disastrous flood of 1889 and couldn’t find a good book about it. So he researched and wrote his own version of The Johnstown Flood.

A similar impulse has impelled me to write six books and numerous articles. My subjects have been places where I have lived—Springfield, MA and the Pioneer Valley, Cape Cod, and metropolitan Boston. I reached a point with each place where there was a yawning gap in the writing about its history and contemporary development issues, so I started to nose around and ended up with a book.

My books include:

The Hub’s Metropolis: Greater Boston’s Development from Railroad Suburbs to Smart Growth (MIT Press, 2013)

Becoming Cape Cod: Creating a Seaside Resort (University Press of New England, 2003)

The Pioneer Valley Reader (Berkshire House Publishers, 1995)

Shaping an Urban Image: Downtown Planning in Springfield, Massachusetts (Connecticut Valley Historical Museum, 1990)

The Inside Guide to Springfield and the Pioneer Valley (Western Mass. Publishers, 1986).

Chapters about regional planning and civic leadership for two editions of Governing Greater Boston (2002, 2003), an annual public policy review published by the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

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Urban Plans Edited by James C. O’Connell


Time for Springfield, the Springfield, Mass. Downtown Master Plan won the 1980 Progressive Architecture (January, 1980) Award for Urban Design and Planning. Competition jurors wrote of Time for Springfield: “It is a magnificent public relations job. It has everything. The layout, breaking down the information into various articles, provides an excellent vehicle for bringing proposals to the community. They even sold advertising space in the magazine. … It is simply the most readable plan I’ve seen. A real tour de force.”