The Center for Resilient Metro-regions (CRM)
Robert Ryan, Center Director
Mark Hamin, Outreach Coordinator
The Center for Resilient Metro-regions (CRM) supports the department's area of excellence in Green Urbanism, where we understand urbanism to occur at a range of scales and places, from rural communities to complex metropolitan regions. The UMass Center for Resilient Metro-Regions provides planning and applied research toward making communities more economically, socially, and environmentally resilient and vibrant. Our goal is to help guide communities through complex choices and changing opportunities in climate, infrastructure, energy systems, land use, and housing. CRM faculty and students work together to integrate research and application to build and demonstrate the best of new practices.
CRM was established in 1985 as the Center for Rural Massachusetts, to undertake a program of applied research focusing on ways that growth can be managed and controlled through actions of local governments and advocacy groups. Measures proposed in Center publications have been studied and adopted throughout the United States and the world. Former associates of the Center (faculty and students) now hold highly significant planning positions in urbanized parts of America, and others are writing about ideas initiated at the Center.
Many LARP studios and community outreach projects are coordinated through CRM, providing service learning opportunities for students and benefits for the communities who fund the studios. Communities who are interested in hosting a studio should contact the Center outreach coordinator, Mark Hamin, who will direct the inquiry to the appropriate faculty member.
CRM-related large research projects include the National Science Foundation funded projects on Sustainable Adaptive Gradients in the coastal Environment (SAGE) (www.resilient-infrastructure.org), and Boston Metropolitan Area Urban Long-term Research Project (ULTRA), www.umass.edu/urbaneco.
The Center has been the vehicle for Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning (LARP) to undertake service work with communities, often on a smaller scale of $10,000 to just a few hundred dollars – whatever the community can afford. Through CRM, faculty and students in LARP (and in other affiliated programs) have prepared comprehensive plans and more specific plans, such as downtown urban design, community participation, and sustainability plans. The link among each of these activities is that the project was requested by the community either directly or through their regional agency, and so demonstrates UMass’ commitment to assist the Commonwealth. Many of the projects have a strong component of social justice. Communities often call us to do community participation forums because they know of our commitment to, and skill with, engaging diverse communities in public meetings. The Center is also where faculty take scholarly innovations and concepts and help to implement them successfully within communities, thus furthering the goal of Discovery and Impact. For instance, the New England Greenway plan was developed through CRM to test theories of how to bring together land with various forms of ownership and protection into a contiguously linked recreational network with integrated ecological and cultural benefits, and to develop a method for valuing the outcomes in communities with this sort of investment in public recreation.
Recent projects include:
- Climate Change Adaption Chapter: Marshfield, MA
- Revitalization of the Lower Worthington Street District (Springfield, MA)
- Prelude to a Master Plan: Ware, Massachusetts