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Clients: Local Communites

Strathmore Mill Redevelopment Planning Assistance
As part of the Town of Montague's redevelopment planning for the historic Strathmore Mill property located in the village of Turners Falls, CED research assistants worked with the Town's Planning Department to develop a web site dedicated to redevelopment opportunities. The newly launched web site hosted at http://www.strathmoremill.com/ is targeted to interested developers or future tenants and serves as a means for local residents to stay informed about project updates and community workshops. This CED-supported web initiative is part of a broader marketing strategy the Town is implementing for reuse of the site following recommendations from an Urban Land Institute Technical Assistance Panel Report released in early 2011.

UMass-Amherst Design Center in Springfield, Massachusetts
The UMass-Amherst Design Center in Springfield serves as a venue for collaborative planning and design projects, civic and cultural events, experiential learning, faculty service projects, and community outreach. In 2008, the CED successfully applied to the EDA to help support planning and technical assistance activities pertaining to the establishment of the Design Center. Although the planning activities have been successfully completed, the CED continues to provide support to the Design Center through the CED's role of providing technical assistance to distressed communities. More specifically, the CED supports graduate research assistants working on design and planning studio projects organized through the Center. Dr. Mullin also continues to provide leadership and oversight to the Design Center, helping to align its broader activities with the broader goals of the UMass-Springfield Initiative and identify project opportunities and outside resources. An example Fall 2010 Urban Design studio report on Visions for Revitalization of Springfield's Upper Lyman Warehouse District is available in PDF format here.

Study of Springfield's Medical Industry
In partnership with the City of Springfield’s economic development and planning staff, CED graduate researchers are cataloging the medical industry in a North End district. The study is designed to help the City learn more about the employment, wages, and commuting patterns of workers in medical and healthcare businesses. Over the past several decades, segments of the North End have been identified as HUD “Urban Renewal Areas.” Planning documents in one of the larger urban renewal areas were most recently updated in 2003. Analyzing current data and potential future trends can enable economic development planners to thoughtfully consider North End redevelopment efforts in partnership with the area’s major hospitals and healthcare providers, and to respond to the needs of medical and healthcare sector employees who are based in this particular geographic area. Researchers analyzed an existing data set and directly verified the information with major employers and medical centers. CED also worked with local and regional planning, economic development, and healthcare entities to gather background data and produce a comprehensive report for the City of Springfield during Summer 2011.

Holyoke Green High-Speed Computing Center
In conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Economic Development, MIT, Harvard, and Yale Universities, the UMass Center for Economic Development is taking a lead role in the feasibility planning for a proposed high-speed computing center in Downtown Holyoke, Massachusetts, capitalizing on the city's relatively cheap hydro-electric power and access to broadband connections. The high-speed computing center is expected to bring economic activity to a downtown suffering from high poverty and with an excess of vacant mill buildings. The project also promises to provide a platform for a broader expansion of information technology and R&D capacity of the western portion of the state. Project web site: http://www.innovateholyoke.com/

Feasibility Study for the Reuse of the UMass Gloucester Marine Station
CED affilitate researcher Dr. Jack Ahern conducted a feasibility study for reuse options at the UMass Marine Station in Gloucester. The project started in July with a site visit and interview with City of Gloucester Planners who provided base information and expressed support for the goal of renewing, or redeveloping the Gloucester station. The feasibility study includes collecting, organizing and analyzing GIS data and site photographs; reviewing the legal status of the parcel, and organizing meetings between UMass-Amherst officials, State Senator Bruce Tarr, the Division of Marine Fisheries, Salem State College, University of New Hampshire, the City of Gloucester and other parties with potential interest in using the Gloucester site. Following this meeting, a presentation was made to Gloucester City Council in December to summarize the conditions, development issues and future uses/users. A final report summarizing the process and findings related to future uses of the facility was released in June 2010. The full report in PDF format can be accessed here.

Heritage tourism master plan for Southbridge
Summary: This document is an economic redevelopment and stimulus plan for the downtown core historic “district”, Quinebaug River corridor, and other key features in the town and adjoining municipalities.  We did a charrette workshop with key players in town, prepared a very comprehensive report and supporting graphics, and made final presentations in front of the Town Council.  LA students were involved in follow up work in Southbridge this past semester with using the town and the Quinebaug River for a greenway planning studio.  Five teams of students prepared individual reports and master plans for developing a regional greenway network for Southbridge.  The students presented to the Town Council.

Site Feasibility study for Billerica, MA
Summary: The open space and recreation / planning studio prepared plans for the 40- acre site in Billerica.  The goal for the studio was to develop a master plan for an outdoor environmental education center, supporting trails, linkages to town, connections to school programs, access to the Concord River, interpretation of historic farming on the site, and anything else that they felt was relevant.  The students made a final presentation in Billerica in December.

Green Strategy for Growth in Springfield: Urban Infill, Open Space, Recreational Trails in the City and the Mason Square Neighborhoods
This report investigates four elements of green infrastructure as green strategies for growth in the four disadvantaged neighborhoods of Mason Square. These strategies are a model for other neighborhoods in Springfield, MA.

•      Recreational Corridors and Trails
•      Urban Infill
•      Storm-water Management
•      Brownfields Remediation

Our proposal describes opportunities for green infrastructure and good city form to create growth in Springfield and its disadvantaged neighborhoods. The recommendations of the Urban Design Research Team are guidelines to create green and economical growth for Springfield.

City of Attleboro Economic Development Organization Study
Summary: The City of Attleboro is in the process of reforming the organizational structure of its economic development agency. The ultimate goal of this reform process is to determine the best possible utilization of staff and resources. This study of the organizational structures of five economic development agencies in Massachusetts is an important component of the reform process. The study provides organizational models that can serve as useful guides for members of the reform committee. Organizational flow charts for each of the five agencies are presented and an analysis of the relative advantages and disadvantages of each structure is included. Members of the committee will find this study to be a valuable resource when developing an organizational structure that will address the unique economic needs and goals of the City of Attleboro.

Bridging the Digital Divide: Technology as an Economic Catalyst in Rural and Depressed Places in Massachusetts
Summary: A new term has emerged in the latter half of the 1990s: The Digital Divide. On the favored side of the digital divide are prosperous communities with state-of-the-art information technology (IT) infrastructure. An efficient and competitively priced IT infrastructure not only fosters the formation of new electronic businesses, but also enables more mature segments of the business world to integrate the Internet into their operations and sales strategies. An affluent and well-educated populace not only provides the skilled labor pool that these businesses need, but also can afford the hardware, software, and service delivery needed to use the Internet themselves. All of these factors give these communities an advantage in attracting investment by New Economy businesses.

In case studies of four Massachusetts communities, we looked at how municipal and community leaders are struggling to cross the digital divide. Our four communities included two cities (Lynn and New Bedford), a district within a larger city (Roxbury), and a rural region (Franklin County). Though these four communities vary in size, population density, geographic area, demographic characteristics, and regional economic resources, each exhibits chronic patterns of economic distress related to the decline of manufacturing and other key industries. All four have personal and household incomes below those in the state as a whole, and all face a shortage of the highly educated workers that high-tech companies seek.

Erving Master Plan
Summary: This study presents information on Erving's economy and main economic issues. It begins with an analysis of demographic, labor, and employment statistics, then discusses some key issues that pose challenges to and provide opportunities for future development. Recommendations are included for taking action to address challenges and to seize opportunities. Goals and objectives were created using the responses received from the 1997 FCCDC Economic Development Survey as a guide.

Usher Plant Revitalization Plan, Erving, MA
Summary: This project looked at the redevelopment of an old Brick Mill in Erving, Massachusetts. The study includes a site description, environmental site assessment, deconstruction of the site, potential re-uses and green building techniques.

A View to a Mountain: Easthampton Wires Project
Summary: The purpose of this project was to examine the feasibility of submerging the overhead utilities that run along Main, Union and Cottage Streets that create the downtown district of the City of Easthampton. To achieve this purpose, our team investigated the steps involved in submerging utilities and how the City of Easthampton might go through this process. This report detailed the research of the utilities, the affects of the move, and its possible consequences.

Berkley Open Space and Recreation Plan
Summary: The Open Space and Recreation Plan of Berkley was the result of careful thinking, planning, research and distillation of the wishes of town's residents through the years. The major value underlying the goals was to preserve open space for wildlife habitat and residential recreational enhancements of our community's quality of life. The converse is also true. If Berkeley were to build homes and commercial sites as some of the neighboring communities have, many residents would feel a distinct decrease in their quality of community life. The three major goals of this plan are: to preserve the country character of Berkley; to protect the precious resources of air, water, soil, and habitats and to provide public access to the rivers, forests and fields.

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The Center For Economic Development at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, housed within the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning.

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