The Design Center is working on many exciting projects in 2017.
Michael DiPasquale, UMass LARP Extension Assistant Professor was awarded $50,000 in funding to support the growth of “Make-It Springfield” the downtown Springfield collaborative design and maker space he founded in June 2016. The funding includes $25,000 from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts “Collaborative Workspace Program” administered by MassDevelopment and a matching grant of $25,000 provided by the MassMutual Foundation.
The grant awards were announced by Massachusetts Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash at a ceremony at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on Tuesday October 24, 2017. Secretary Ash said the Collaborative Workspace grant program “will help advance community-based innovation and collaboration throughout the Commonwealth” including cities like Springfield.
“Make-It Springfield”, co-founded by Professor DiPasquale and Laura Masulis, Springfield’s “Transformative Development Fellow” in a vacant downtown storefront, offers dozens of free or low-cost workshops to hundreds of Springfield residents each month. The maker space is supported by staff that includes LARP doctoral student Lara Furtado, and recent LARP graduate, Yanhua Lu.
- The Design Center is proposing a renovation plan for the surroundings and interior of a resturant in Springfield.
- Graduate Landscape student, Yanhua Lu is working with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission on a new downtown wayfinding “tactical urbanism” demonstration to encourage walking in the downtown area.
- The Design Center and LARP students are proposing a redesign for Springfield’s historic Stearns Square (designed by Stanford White). The new design converts a portion of the Square into a seating area that can be used for multiple purposes at all times of the day.
- LARP professor Michael DiPasquale's graduate Urban Design Studio recently completed a study for East Springfield focusing on new ways to address the neighborhood's industrial land use and “residual space” - New Vision for An Industrial Landscape. Professor Carolina Aragon will continue working in this neighborhood, focusing on community health and revitalization.
- Later this spring the Design Center will sponsor a design competition for the creation of a temporary “parklet” in downtown Springfield. In collaboration with Mike Davidsohn (LARP), the Springfield Innovation Center, and the Springfield Cultural District, the competition and design Charrette will look at ways to convert existing paved areas to active public spaces.
- UMass Makers Space in Springfield. The Design Center is working together with UMass Extension Center for Agriculture Food and the Environment, LARP and the College of Natural Sciences to create a temporary “Makers Space” in a pop-up storefront in downtown Springfield. Stay tuned for more information about a summer opening.