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Community Engagement research explores distribution of costs, benefits, power and privilege among multiple and diverse publics in policy, planning and design.

Design Exploration integrates design and scholarship through award winning exhibitions, design/build projects, built landscapes, and plans.

Research in Regenerative Urbanism addresses climate change, resilience, sustainable and low impact policy and design practices in small towns, cities, and global metropolitan regions.

Our faculty investigate policy, planning, and design issues in the identification, interpretation, and conservation of the living heritage of cultural landscapes.

Regional scale landscape planning promotes the thoughtful achievement of human and natural needs while linking edge, node and corridor across multiple scales.

Our faculty are leaders in investigating entrepreneurship, development and redevelopment, technological change, and the reuse of industrial space to meet new social and economic needs.  


  • Tuesday, April 1st

    1. ISSR summer workshops
      • End date: Friday, May 30th

        Summer 2014 Workshop Schedule Announced

        Registration is now open for the 2014 summer workshops offered by the Institute for Social Science Research. All workshops are open to faculty and students at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, at the other colleges in the Five College system, and at institutions outside of the Five Colleges.

  • Today

    1. Gustevo Esteva Lecture
      • Start time: 11:40am
      • End date: Wednesday, April 9th
      • End time: 12:40pm
      • The first is at a special day and time, Wednesday April 9, 2014 at 11:40 a.m. - 12:40 p.m. cosponsored by the UMass Library Sustainability Fund.

        When: Wednesday, April 9, 2014

        Time: 11:40am to 12:40pm

        Place: Procopio Room, 105 Hills House, UMass Campus

        Urbanization, Development, …Toilets

        Activist and community-based intellectual Gustavo Esteva of Oaxaca, Mexico will reflect on development and the outhouse: how the flush toilet changed the cities and urban life. As urban centers grew denser with the rise of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries, disease and death plagued European and North American cities. The sanitary solution of the flush toilet 'solved' many of these problems, but will the future be able to rely on such resource-intensive technology? Esteva will explore the questions: Can we imagine alternatives to the flush toilet in a skyscraper? Will we need to ruralize the cities or urbanize the countryside? How do we approach these questions in times of crisis and decline...? Esteva's experience is informed by over forty years working on alternative sanitation with urban and indigenous populations of Mexico.

        Gustavo Esteva is an independent writer and grassroots activist. He is a practitioner, not an academic. A prolific writer, he is the author of more than 40 books, published in seven languages, and hundreds of essays. He co--‐authored Grassroots Post--‐ Modernism and Escaping Education with Madhu Suri Prakash. Among his recent books:

        The Palgrave International Handbook of Peace Studies (2011, Ed., with W. Dietrich and others), Antistasis: L’insurrezione in corso (2012), Repensar el mundo con Iván Illich (2012, Coord.), The Future of Development: A Radical Manifesto (2013), Nuevas formas de la revolución (2013). He is a regular contributor to Mexico's leading daily, La Jornada, and occasionally to The Guardian.

        Esteva has been a central figure in a wide range of Mexican, Latin American, and international nongovernmental organizations and solidarity networks, including the alternative, community--‐based organization Universidad de la Tierra en Oaxaca, which he founded and coordinates. In 1996, he was an advisor to the Zapatistas in their negotiations with the Mexican government and he is a strong advocate of Zapatismo. In 2006, he took part in the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca.

        Esteva has received numerous academic honors, including: an Honorary Doctorate (Honoris Causa) in Laws from the University of Vermont, the National Award for Political Economy, and the National Award for Journalism. He has served as president of the Mexican Society of Planning and the 5th World Congress on Rural Sociology and interim president for the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development.

  • Tomorrow

    1. Zube Lecture - Charles Tacy
      • Start time: 04:00pm
      • End date: Thursday, April 10th
      • End time: 05:00pm
      • An invitation to Pause: Art in National Parks

        Charles Tracy, Landscape Architect, National Park Service

        Charles Tracy is a landscape architect with the National Park Service who guides long-distance trail development and landscape conservation for the newly-designated New England National Scenic Trail. On the national level, he specializes in partnerships with artists and art organizations to expand the role of artist-in-residency programs in national parks and the use of art as a catalyst for inspiring environmental stewardship.

IDB (Integrated Design Building) Blog


Welcome to our blog about the process and proposals for the new LARP building!  With so much going on and the process moving so quickly, we wanted a way to keep our faithful alumni and future students updated on what is going on.  We’ll post on this blog when we reach big milestones, so keep watching this space!

It’s hard to overestimate what having a new building will mean for LARP. Many of you know that Hills was originally built as a dormitory, and was repurposed for academic life.  It’s had a good run and we’ve all built great memories here, but everyone who visits knows we obviously need an upgrade.  This has become even more pressing in recent years, as mold issues mean that not all of the faculty can even enter the building.  Because of our outstanding faculty we have been quite successful over the years despite Hills.  We’ve always liked to think that the best programs are often in the worst spaces, but I’m not so sure anymore.  I look forward to proving that the best programs can also be in the best spaces. It is invigorating to think about what we will be able to do with a beautiful new space. 

The new building will bring together LARP with Architecture (now a program, but likely to be a department by the time we all move) and Building and Construction Technologies (also currently a program, but likely to merge with Architecture by the big move). 

A few big picture facts:

  • Size of new building: 49,000 gross square foot program area, 80,000 gross building size. 
  • Construction budget: $35 million, although the state has authorized up to $50 million.
  • Key dates:
    • Design phase began in August and continues through Winter 2015
    • Construction will be Spring 2015 through Fall/Winter 2016
    • Move-in Date:  Fall 2016 or Winter 2017

Our architecture team is world class:  Leers Weinzapfel, with principal Andrea Leers as the lead designer.  You can see examples of their work at:  Our landscape architects are Stephen Stimson Associates,  Stimson is an alumni of the MLA program and has taught in our department.  His firm did the beautiful design which puts green infrastructure to work in UMass’ Southwest concourse. 

With such a big, complicated, fast project UMass got an Owner’s Rep on board early.  We have been very happy with the work of Collaborative Partners in Cambridge MA in keeping us all represented in the process and doing just what their name suggests – encouraging collaboration, but also assuring that we keep moving along. 

The big question is WHERE!  The architects are developing proposals for Lot 62, which is the parking area right across from the Fine Arts Center, or for upgrading and connecting to Clark Hall.  Ultimately the final location is a decision the Chancellor will make.

Ah, but what will happen to Hills, you ask?  It is destined to come down altogether, and become a parking lot.  If we can work it out with the lawyers, we’re dreaming of having an alumni event where for $25 you can swing a sledgehammer at the building once we are all moved out!  That sounds like a party.

This Friday (January 10th) the architects will present the options and their initial designs.  Watch this space for a video of their presentation!  In future blogs we’ll talk more about the building design, the sustainability features, the studio concepts, and the landscape design, maybe reminiscence on Hills and more. 

Happy New Year!  
-Elisabeth Hamin, Head of Department

IDB Presentation video: January 10, 2014
IDB Design

A design team of Leers Weinzapfel Associates, architects, and Stephen Stimson Associates, landscape architects, has been selected, and construction should start in 2015 for occupancy in late 2016.

The Integrated Design Building will be located in the southern end of Lot 62. see campus map


  • Dean Robert Feldman and LARP announced plans for their new building at the 2013 alumni dinner

    A design team of Leers Weinzapfel Associates, architects, and Stephen Stimson Associates, landscape architects, has been selected, and construction should start in 2015 for occupancy in late 2016. See more on our slide show here .

  • MLA Students Win Honor Award from Boston Society of Landscape Architects

    Congratulations to MLA students Samantha Anderson, Ivette Banoub, Ngoc Doan, Colin O'Donnell, Keith Hannon, Irene Miller, Amanda Rookey, and Yan Xu, and studio instructors Stephen Stimson and Lauren Stimson, of Stephen Stimson Associates.

    Inspired by the beautiful New England landscape, this project proposes to rehabilitate Fieldstone Farm, an historic dairy farm and local landmark in Princeton, MA, by celebrating both local and regional architectural vernaculars, enhancing wildlife habitat, respecting site history, and expanding upon the existing agricultural land use practices.  The main objective of this planning project was to attract a diverse group of people to Fieldstone Farm Village with a variety of different housing types, outdoor recreational spaces, existing natural features, and agricultural aesthetics.  The studio focused on siting appropriate and sensitively designed housing units on abandoned farmland, while balancing the need to preserve agricultural land uses, sensitive open space, and the unique cultural opportunities that exist on site.  The students produced eight different housing and land use proposals for the clients, Mass Audubon and the Princeton Land Trust, to help the clients envision future development options.  

    See the students projects here

    See the final studio report here

  • BSLA Students Win Honor Award from Boston Society of Landscape Architects

    "Springfield’s “X” – From Crossroads to Center" has won the BSLA Honor Award in Student Works.

    Congratulations to Joe Agrillo, Bryan Anderson, Bill Black, Nic Brown, Sam Brown, Ted Chesbro, Pat Corey, Richard Disharoon, Andrew Fang, Krystal Ford, Dan Kamins, Jay French, Colin Lord, Tom Holt, John Nicol, Alex Jardin, Tricia O’Grady, Dahee Lee, Brett Riley, Henry Puza, Steve Sanborn, Sean Regnier, Chuck Richard, David Ross, Julia Sim, Jennifer Verville.


  • LARP Alumni Honored at 2013 APA-MA Awards

    The American Planning Association-Massachusetts Chapter announced the winners of the 2013 APA-MA awards program, the state’s highest honor for planning professionals. The awards program is a proud tradition established years ago to recognize outstanding comprehensive plans, planning programs and initiatives, public education efforts, and individuals for their leadership on planning issues. Among this year's winners were several LARP Alumni: Jayne Bernhard-Armington AICP, Senior Planner, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (primary author) and recipient of this year’s Young Planner Award, which recognizes a junior or mid-level young practicing planner who has excelled in leadership, increased the impact of planning in public and private decision making, or enhanced the APA-MA Chapter; Douglas Albertson, Town Planner, Belchertown; Stuart Beckley, Town Manager, Ware; Karen Mendrala, (former) Senior Planner, Holyoke; James Errickson, Executive Director, Department of Planning and Development; affiliated faculty Peter Flinker AICP, Principal, Dodson & Flinker Landscape Architecture and Planning, Walter Ramsey AICP, Town Planner and Conservation Agent, Paul Halkiotis AICP, Town Planner, Town of Marshfield. Awards were also granted to the following agencies for which numerous LARP alumni are part: Franklin Regional Council of Governments, Franklin County Regional Housing & Redevelopment Authority, and The Town of Montague (twice awarded).

    The LARP Department congratulates our graduates on their continued pursuit of excellence.

  • Aging population expected to slow growth in Massachusetts over long term, UMass Donahue Institute study finds

    The UMass Donahue Institute’s Population Estimates Program released a comprehensive population growth study showing that the Massachusetts population will increase by 4.4 percent from 2010 to 2030, growing by 290,589 over the 20-year term to a new total of 6,838,254. The newly released report, Long-term Population Projections for Massachusetts Regions and Municipalities was developed by researchers at the UMass Donahue Institute and Dr. Henry Renski, Associate Professor of Regional Planning and Director for the UMASS Center for Economic Development at UMass Amherst, through support from the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. more