UMass Landscape Architecture students in Professor Samantha Solano’s MLA Studio and Professor Frank Sleegers’ BSLA Urban Design Studio participated in the 2023 Envision Resilience Design Challenge.

The Envision Resilience Challenge is a coastal resilience initiative that connects academia, local leadership, and community members, and inspires coastal communities to envision innovative approaches to the impacts of climate change. In 2023, UMass students joined a cohort of studios from other universities to help communities reimagine solutions to the current and future effects of sea level rise in New Bedford and Fairhaven, MA. 

Students visiting a site for a landscape architecture studio

Site Visits

During the semester, students embarked on immersive visits to New Bedford, where they gained a deeper knowledge of the local landscape, culture, and community.

In September, the studios spent two days with community planners and stakeholders across various sectors of government and non-profit organizations. One month later, they visited the famous Hurricane Barrier and explored coastal neighborhoods, including the South End Mill District at the Orpheum Theatre. BSLA Seniors also met with Alex Jardin, a New Bedford Staff Planner and resident who graduated from the UMass BSLA program in 2013.  


Students created photomontage representations of their landscape design concepts for the focal sites. This photomontage is titled "Land + Water = Sponge? - The Climate Resilient Community" by Sarah Daube, Lucas D'Entremont, and Yuhan Liu.

Early Concept Designs

Between visits to New Bedford, the UMass teams showcased their photomontage landscape designs in digital presentations to gain feedback from The Envision Resilience Challenge and community advisors. 

"Adapting to Change: Resilient Coastal Living in New Bedford," by Mario DeLuca, Viktor Schneider, and Amber Rachele, BSLA Seniors

Final Projects

Back in at the UMass Design Building, students presented their final projects for faculty and peer reviews. 

UMass studios and teams from six other universities presented their final landscape designs at the "Envision Resilience: Designs for Living with Rising Seas" Exhibition at the New Bedford Art Museum in December

Exhibition Opening

To conclude the 2023 Challenge, UMass teams debuted their final landscape designs alongside six other universities during the "Envision Resilience: Designs for Living with Rising Seas" Exhibition Opening. The exhibition was held at the New Bedford Art Museum in December.

Studio Titles

Reconciling Resilience, Refuge, Recovery, and Retreat: Climate Futures for New Bedford, MA, Master of Landscape Architecture Studio | Instructor: Samantha Solano 

Spinning the Threads for a Resilient Urban Fabric – Vision 2100 For New Bedford’s Upper South End in the Age of Climate Change, BSLA Senior Studio | Instructor: Frank Sleegers

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