The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Main Street Resurfaced

Zube Lecture followed by reception and workshop: Thursday 4/7 5:30pm

With James Rojas (author of new book “Dream Play Build”) and founder with John Kamp of Place-It Interactive Planning, Los Angeles. James Rojas has spent most of his career developing creative hands/on ways to engage with local communities. Copies of the new book will be available.


The Urban Study pop-up demonstrates an innovative way to bring new life to vacant spaces on “Main Street,” the iconic center of small and midsized post-industrial (legacy) cities. Trends well-established before the pandemic (jobs and people moving to large urban centers, the growth of e-commerce) pose special challenges for these cities. With fewer people, weaker economies, and limited public/private resources, smaller cities will need to deploy new strategies in order to thrive.


The gallery installation models the reuse of a vacant retail space, replacing it with a vibrant, non-commercial community focused use. The Urban Study is envisioned as an experiential learning and making space. A space where neighbors come together to learn about their city, its history, and sketch out plans for the future. To reinforce this aspect of the project, UMass students have designed an exhibit, “Main Street Resurfaced,” highlighting important topics related to the revitalization of small towns and Main Streets.


The Urban Study is temporary, and mobile. In collaboration with our colleagues at the Future of Small Cities Institute and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, we have designed the furniture, displays, and exhibits, as a “kit of parts.” We expect to move the Urban Study (or parts of it) to other locales. Our team hopes the exhibit can serve as a template for other cities interested in enlivening their downtowns with a pop-up Urban Study exhibition space on Main Street.


Urban Study Team


Michael Di Pasquale, Instructor

Saige Lloyd, Co-Instructor

Reif Larsen, Advisor

Lauren Azuela

Micaela Goodrich

Victoria Haskins

Megan Itzkowitz

Klara Ingersoll

Olivia James

Aly Macabangon

Lucia Peña

Remington Pontes

Milou Rigollaud

Daniel Salatiello




University of Massachusetts

John W Olver Design Building #180

551 North Pleasant Street

Amherst MA

Hours: Monday – Friday 9AM to 4PM

Closed on school holidays