Fat Cat Restaurant and Surroundings Renovation

This Project intended to renovate the building facade and outdoor dining area. Design ideas include get rid of existing fence and old light posts, add awnings and flower boxes to the front windows, use planters to define outdoor dining space instead of fence, provide more moveable tables and chairs with umbrellas... With all these changes, the dining ditrict will soon become more and more popular.


Turners Falls Canal District Planning

UMass Design Center was hired in 2016 Fall semester by a 14-week Regional Planning graduate studio to help reviewing design ideas and creating plan views and perspective visuals that reflects the historic character of downtown Turners Falls. The goal of the studio is prepare a vision plan that focuses on improving the canal distict in terms of planning, land-use, potential infrastructure, and branding.

Pre-Installation Evaluation of New Wayfinding Program in Downtown Springfield

46 signs have been installed by April 26, 2016 in downtown Springfield/Metro Center. The program received $60,000 from a state Department of Public Health grant. The 46 temporary signs are the tactical installation of the program to test the reaction from pedestrian. The directional signs will provide necessary information to the thousands of visitors the city will host, when Union Station is operational later 2016 and MGM Springfield opens in the fall of 2018. Other signs will be installed by 2018.
A survey created by the UMass Design Center in Springfield was given to various Springfield residents and visitors in spring 2016 in order to better understand how familiar they were with the downtown (Metro Center) area. Following recommendations were brought out for the city of Springfield to improve this program.

City of Springfield Pedestrian Wayfinding (PVPC 02/28/2016)

Walkable Springfield: City unveils preliminary downtown wayfinding system (MassLive 04/26/2016)

Make-It Springfield

UMass Extension & MassDevelopment present Make-It Springfield, a community makerspace in downtown Springfield. 

Make-It Springfield offers an accessible community space for local makers, artisans, crafters, entrepreneurs, programmers, doers and enthusiasts to share their skillsets with community members of all ages. "Make-It Springfield" hosts public workshops and events and is a collaboration between MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative [TDI], the UMASS Design Center in Springfield, and the Springfield BID. Make-It provides a platform for community members of all backgrounds to learn new skills, build relationships & inspire each other.  Make-It enjoys bringing new life and energy to a previously vacant downtown storefront on Worthington Street.  We also love showcasing the many creative and innovative projects and people in the City of Springfield.

Make-It Springfield|Home

Make-It Springfield|Facebook

Make-It Springfield Pop-Up Community 'makerspace' Workshop Coming to Downtown Springfield (MassLive 05/20/2016)

Make-It Springfield opens downtown 'makerspace' with do-it-yourself bike clinic (MassLive 06/01/2016)

Springfield 'makerspace' to stay open for 'foreseeable future' (MassLive 07/14/2016)

Make-It Springfield community space thriving, offers 25 weekly workshops (MassLive 11/02/2016)

Mobile Parklet Design Charrette

Parklets are sidewalk extensions built on top of existing parking spaces. They take advantage of underutilized (residual) space. They are easy to dismantle when traffic becomes too congested, or for winter weather, etc. Often times Parklets are seasonal, or temporary. In Springfield we are designing and building a portable or mobile Parklet. One that can be constructed on site, then taken apart, stored, and reconstructed at the same, or another location. The Parklet Project is one component of a larger project, “Tactical Urbanism in Springfield” initiated by the UMass Design Center. 

The design Charrette provides a fun and quick way generate a variety of creative designs, from concept to working drawings, for a Parklet that is planned to be built in summer 2016 in Springfield’s Worthington Street “Dining District”. The Charrette starts with a tour of the site, followed by dinner in Springfield on Sunday evening, April 8, 2016. All design work and drawings shall be started and completed on Saturday April 9, 2016. 

Our community partners include: City of Springfield Office of Planning and Economic Development, Springfield Building Improvement District (BID), Springfield Cultural District, Springfield Transformative Development Initiative.

Stearns Square Renovation

Stearns Square is an urban plaza located in Springfield Club Quarter, which is the largest entertainment district between NYC and Montreal, Canada. It was designed by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and landscape architect Stanford White in 1887. Outdoor concerts and live shows take place in Stearns Square every summer. 
As a cultural and recreational plaza, the idea of renovation is to activate this district by providing opportunities for more activities such as concert, party, night life, daily life, work and play. This renovation is a tactical installation to “test” if the idea is working and it will be last for a few years. A long-term design will come up after.

New Visions for An Industrial Landscape

The 7-week Spring 2016 Graduate Urban Design studio collaborated with Scott Hanson at the Springfield Office of Planning and Community Development to study new visions for the East Springfield neighborhood. The studio work focused on an area adjacent to a new transit car manufacturing facility, located at the former Westinghouse Electric Company site. The students completed extensive historical research of the site and conducted a very successful public participation workshop.


Revitalizing Residual Space in Legacy Cities: Tactical Urbanism in Springfield

Tactical Urbanism

The 14-week studio emphasized the role that tactical urbanism (small-scale, urban design interventions) can play in the revitalization of public space. Particular attention was paid to the reuse of “residual space”, the underused and vacant spaces found in the downtowns of many legacy cities. The semester culminated in the installation of several short term, site specific interventions throughout downtown Springfield. Each short-term project was designed to be the basis for a longer-term vision for successful public space in the city’s downtown.

Spring into Art     No Vacancy     Urban Agua     Green Corridor     Moving Wayfinding     Extra Space, Active Street     


Redefining America's Postwar Urban Renewal at the Northgate of Springfield, MA

Redefining America's Postwar Urban Renewal at the Northgate of Springfield, MA - 2014

The study area, hard to characterize and considered by most people a ”no-man’s land”, was named “NORTHGATE” due to its role as the northern gateway to downtown Springfield. Its unique location and specific assets of the City of Springfield as well as future projects like the rehabilitation of Union Station and other city initiatives could make the area poised for yet another transformation: Redefining America’s Postwar Urban Renewal at the Northgate. The report presents visionary design proposals showing possible future scenarios to re-imagine and revitalize a unique urban district close to the heart of the City.

Reconnecting Springfield's Downtown to the Riverfront

Reconnecting Springfield's Downtown to the Riverfront - 2014

The goal of this studio project was to design visions along downtown Springfield’s I-91 highway reconstruction area to improve accessibility to the riverfront. The design scenarios will be beneficial to Springfield’s downtown development plans which include the reconstruction of I-91/291 and the construction of an MGM Casino. The six design alternatives are based on three different scenarios concerning the future elevation of the highway.


Revitalization of the Lower Worthington Street District (Springfield, MA)

The Regional Planning Studio Team of nine MRP students was tasked to deliver well-researched suggestions for initial strategies that could revive this area into a 24-hour, trendy, market-rate neighborhood that would attract young professionals seeking both residential amenities and a walkable, urban lifestyle. Also important to the authors of this report are methods to preserve diversity and include the current residents within aspects of our approaches, specifically to provide opportunities to join in the economic benefits of revitalization and to avoid the typical trade-off of displacement as growth increases. The client for this project was Develop Springfield. View the report.

A Vision for the Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club

The Regional Planning Studio Team of six MRP graduate students was tasked with helping the newly invigorated nonprofit rowing club write a plan that implements their vision and expands their programs the next five years. Historically, the rowing club was an organization with a small budget and devoted following. Recently, the organization experienced an influx of revenue in the form of a public health grant. This new budget presents opportunities for organizational prosperity and sustainability and the Studio Team provides strategies to sustain the organization. The client was Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club. View the report.


The Revitalization of Springfield's North End

The Revitalization of Springfield's North End - 2013

The studio focus area is located around a proposed 50-60 unit market-rate housing project seen as a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization. The economic goal is the diversification of the income structure in the area with a positive effect on neighborhood commerce and further investments. Which other interventions would make the area more livable and create an incentive for comprehensive renewal? What are the priorities to initialize this change?

Springfield's "X" from Crossroads to Center

Springfield's "X" from Crossroads to Center - 2013

“Springfield’s “X” - From Crossroads to Center” received the Boston Society of Landscape Architects Honor Award 2014.

The goal was to shape this vision for the “X” and the Forest Park Neighborhood, famous for its affluent and beautiful historic homes and Forest Park - one of America’s largest urban parks. The studios proposed the designs that encourage walking, bicycling and serving neighborhood services, as a way to empower the local community and create a paradigm shift in the city.


Creating a Vision for Indian Orchard, Springfield, MA

Creating a Vision for Indian Orchard, Springfield, MA - 2012

The primary goal of the project is to unveil the unique assets and character of Indian Orchard. Crucial steps consisted of acknowledging the strong industrial heritage and improving connectivity to existing public open space system, which should not stop at municipal boundaries. It has to be developed with a sense for regional connectivity along rivers and streams and considering potential connections like old railroad corridors.


Population 7

Population 7 - 2011

POPULATION 7 started as an experiment in the fall of 2011 as an Urban Art Laboratory “Art – Place – Tour” with the vision to make a tangible impact to the culture of public art in Springfield. At first sight art seems to be not existent in the public realm. We are searching for an organic, sustainable concept with the potential to grow from inside to outside. Our goal is to invite to a discussion about public art and art in general that is introduced through minimal but diverse, economical eventually temporary, site-responsive interventions. Video

Creating Livable Neighborhoods in Old Hill and Six Corners

The Old Hill and Six Corners neighborhoods are located 1 mile from the heart of downtown with approximately 12,000 inhabitants. Both neighborhoods are challenged by a very low average household income, housing foreclosures, lots vacancies, lack of substantial home ownership, high traffic volumes, poor quality of open space. As part of the vision to renew the area, this studio seeks to build a stronger sense of place throughout the neighborhood by improving connectivity to existing public open spaces.

Reconnecting People to Springfield's Riverfront: from the South End to Forest Park

The primary goal of the project is to develop a vision to connect the neighborhoods of the South End and Forest Park to the Connecticut River and find imaginative ways to engage the southern waterfront of Springfield as a place for people and as a landscape where water-ecology has both a functional and a visual-aesthetic value. What is Springfield’s Riverfront of tomorrow?


From the Quadrangle to the River: Revitalizing the Heart of Downtown Springfield

The graduate Urban Design Studio developed a master plan for the core area of downtown Springfield as a visual planning and design framework with focus on the revitalization of open space and the connection from the Quadrangle, or “Quad” to the Connecticut River. The effort is made to develop a hierarchy of design objectives as a guideline for the City. The primary goal of the project was to develop green design and policy strategies to improve the livability of the heart of downtown Springfield for employers, employees, residents, and visitors.

Springfield's Upper Lyman Warehouse District Visions for Revitalization

Springfield's Upper Lyman Warehouse District Visions for Revitalization - 2010

This studio proposed land uses and creative incentives that encourage mixed land use on architecturally defined street edges. Use strategies such as adaptive reuse for significant historic buildings, and urban infill that shares urban infrastructure. Respond to the prevalent housing market in downtown Springfield that offers little owner occupied and market rate housing.


Making Connections – Envisioning Springfield's North End

Making Connections – Envisioning Springfield's North End - 2009

The primary goal of this project was to stimulate a conversation in the neighborhoods of the North End, to develop green design strategies, to improve services and businesses for residents and the employees of local businesses, and to foster cultural engagement and interaction in the North End that will enhance the vibrancy, resilience, and quality of life of this urban community.

Revitalizing the South End – The Gateway for Downtown Springfield

In 2006, Springfield invited the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to the city, to help map an immediate course of action for economic development. The recommendations of the ULI identified the South End as the number one priority neighborhood project in Springfield, and jump-started the City’s South End Revitalization Project: a series of connected public and private initiatives designed to systematically improve the condition of housing, open space, infrastructure and retail in the South End.  There are ten initiatives in total. The studio purpose was to design the South End as the future gateway for downtown Springfield that will help to transform it into a vibrant urban community.


Designing the Arc of Recreation

Senior urban design Studio - 2008

The graduate Urban Design Studio, spring 2008 worked out preliminary visions for the Mason Square Community, constituted of four urban neighborhoods (McKnight, Bay, Old Hill and Upper Hill).  The Senior Urban Design Studio, set up a first planning and design framework, wrote up a report and further developed these ideas in the McKnight neighborhood to refine strategies and to create design drawings. The plans may help the City of Springfield and the Mason Square Community to reinforce and accelerate the realization of the first part of a recreational trail north of State Street. Therefore the design proposals focusses on the northern part of the abandoned Highland Division Railroad corridor, called the “Arc of Recreation”.