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Worcester, Mass.
Worcester, Mass.
New England's second-largest city, Worcester was known in its previous economic incarnation as a manufacturing powerhouse, producing everything from textiles to machine parts. Although the city has made an effort to preserve its manufacturing capabilities, it's best known now as a hub of biotechnology.

The founding of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Research Park in 1985 by the city's development corporation and the presence of 15 area colleges and universities fostered this new industry; Worcester is now home to more than a hundred biotech companies. The city strives to blend the green space and affordable housing options of a small town with the arts and culture of a big city: Worcester's well-known museums and libraries include the Higgins Armory Museum and the American Antiquarian Society.

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Last updated March 26 2008: 3:40 PM ET