The University of Massachusetts Amherst

UMass Team Wins Planning Competition for Springfield Project

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

On Monday, April 27, 2020, MassINC’s Gateway Cities Innovation Institute announced the 2020 Transformative Transit-Oriented Development (TTOD) Planning and Design Competition’s winning team, comprised of Jiaqi Guo, Bryce Lloyd-Hahn and Chris Ramage, all graduate landscape architecture students at UMass Amherst.

Over the past seven months, the team worked on a project called “In the Loop,” which hopes to advance transportation equity in Springfield, MA. by stacking tactical interventions, cultural events, and long-term housing initiatives. In total, nine teams participated in the TTOD Planning and Design Competition, which called on students to envision equitable transit-oriented neighborhood plans and projects in Gateway Cities.

"our students learned the complex issues facing underserved youth and the barriers they sometimes face accessing public space."

“The goal of the inaugural Transformative Transit-Oriented Development (TTOD) Planning and Design Competition was to shed light on the incredible potential our Gateway Cities have, while addressing structural inequities through planning and design,” said Dr. Tracy Corley, transit-oriented development fellow at the Gateway Cities Innovation Institute at MassINC. “All of the participating teams went above and beyond to engage with local residents in the planning process, but Guo, Lloyd-Hahn and Ramage created a vision that put equitable development at the forefront of the conversation.”

The team’s work on “In the Loop” was overseen by UMass Amherst faculty advisors Frank Sleegers, associate professor of landscape architecture and Michael DiPasquale, assistant professor of urban extension, as well as RAD Springfield, a mobile community bike shop located in Springfield.

“The ‘In the Loop’ proposal emphasizes a better-connected Springfield with transportation modes that are made accessible to everyone,” said DiPasquale. “Their idea to ‘break down barriers’ demonstrates a practical way Gateway Cities can leverage transit-oriented development to make urban places that are both vibrant and equitable. Working with RAD Springfield, a community bike workshop, our students learned the complex issues facing underserved youth and the barriers they sometimes face accessing public space.”

The team also worked closely with the City of Springfield, including Brian Connors, deputy director of economic development and Scott Hanson, principle planner. 

“On behalf of the Springfield Office of Planning and Economic Development, I couldn’t be prouder of the professional and outstanding work the students presented for this competition,” said Hanson. “The longstanding partnership between UMass Amherst and the City continues to produce innovative, creative and award-winning results that benefit the City in so many ways. Thank you, students and instructors Frank Sleegers and Michael DiPasquale for a job well done!”

The TTOD Planning & Design Competition

In the fall of 2019, Corley called on Massachusetts’ college students to partner with city staff and community organizations to envision equitable transit-oriented neighborhood plans and projects in Gateway Cities. Faculty and student teams from Harvard, UMass Amherst, MIT, and Northeastern answered the call, with nine teams creating projects for four Gateway Cities: Brockton, Lowell, Lynn and Springfield.

Earlier this month, five judges from Nelson/Nygaard, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), the Lawrence and Lillian Solomon Foundation, Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MPH), and the Barr Foundation selected a winner of the competition based on how well their projects connect places of activity and growth with downtown passenger rail stations, as well how compelling and equitable their design solution was. The winning team was announced during an online event on April 27, 2020. The first-place runner up was Team Lowell “Common Ground”, designed by Harvard students Remus Macovei, Amelia Muller and Sydney Upchurch.

Other projects included:

Team Brockton

MIT Students: Emma Gonzalez Roberts, Natalia Coachman, Wonyoung So, Yair Yakov Titelboim
MIT Faculty Advisor: Dr. Amy Glasmeier
Participating Brockton City Officials: Rob May
Community Partnership: Village Neighborhood Association
Project Description: Transforming a former rail yard adjacent to the BAT Center, the MBTA Commuter Rail, and Downtown Brockton into a vibrant campus that includes mixed-income housing, retail space, civic space, and public space that is designed using inclusive practices.

Team Lowell “TLC”

Harvard Students: Abby Jamiel, Chelsea Lee
Harvard Faculty Advisor: Dan D'Oca
Participating Lowell City Officials: Sandra Swaile, Christopher Hayes
Community Partnerships: Eliot Church, Nine Zero Two Development
Project Description: “Lowell TLC” (aka Lowell Tender Loving Care) envisions a mobile pop-up care village that will transform streets and underutilized parking lots into lively public realms for all Lowellians. This intervention is aimed at increasing pedestrian foot traffic, street activation, and community interaction, while also reducing the stigma surrounding the JAM’s unhoused population.

Team Lowell “Tanner to LRTA”

Harvard Student: Sydney Pedigo
Harvard Faculty Advisor: Dan D'Oca
Participating Lowell City Officials: Sandra Swaile, Christopher Hayes
Community Partnership: Lowell Regional Transit Authority
Project Description: This project proposes a range of public realm and safety improvements to increase pedestrian connections between the Ayer’s City Industrial Park and the Gallagher Transportation Center.

Team Lowell “Common Ground”

Harvard Students: Remus Macovei, Amelia Muller, Sydney Upchurch
Harvard Faculty Advisor: Dan D'Oca
Participating Lowell City Officials: Sandra Swaile, Christopher Hayes
Community Partnership: Eliot Church
Project Description: Finding Common Ground envisions a new town common typology, adapted to better meet the needs of a 21st century city. It proposes an expanded South Common that extends linearly throughout the JAM neighborhood and into downtown to create a more intuitive and cohesive urban experience, linking public and market rate housing, the new Justice Center, resources for challenged populations, two schools, and the mills to Gallagher Terminal and transit stops throughout the area.

Team Lynn

Northeastern Students: Aseem Vikas Deodhar, James Nee, Hannah Silbert, Fuyang Sun
Northeastern Faculty Advisors: Ted Landsmark, Christopher Bosso
Participating Lynn City Officials: Bill Bochnak, Jeff Weeden
Community Partnerships: The Hall Company, Inc., Roulez Cycles
Project Description: Improving cycling infrastructure along the Northern Strand/Community Path to support cyclist commuters and encourage visitation of Downtown Lynn, the future Lynn Waterfront, and the Lynn and Nahant Beach Reservation.

Team Springfield “Connect-The-City”

UMass Amherst Students: Keith Benoit, Stephen McCusker, Jessica Schottanes
UMass Amherst Faculty Advisors: Frank Sleegers, Michael DiPasquale
Participating Springfield City Officials: Brian Connors, Scott Hanson
Community Partnership: RAD Springfield
Project Description: Connect-The-City seeks to designate a park tailored to the collaborated vision of Springfield's cycling and skating communities.

Team Springfield “Campus Catalyst”

UMass Amherst Students: Caitlan Davis, Marcos Gonzalez, Anna Kellerman
UMass Amherst Faculty Advisors: Frank Sleegers, Michael DiPasquale
Participating Springfield City Officials: Brian Connors, Scott Hanson
Community Partnership: RAD Springfield
Project Description: A UMASS Amherst Springfield Campus will bring vitality and energy of a college campus to downtown Springfield. This project will create new urban infrastructure highlighting biking culture, building community and a connective urban experience.

Team Springfield “A New Worthington”

UMass Amherst Students: Nigel Cummings, Kinjal Desai, Olivia Ashjian James
UMass Amherst Faculty Advisors: Frank Sleegers, Michael DiPasquale
Participating Springfield City Officials: Brian Connors, Scott Hanson
Community Partnership: RAD Springfield
Project Description: A New Worthington creates opportunities to integrate people and places for a rich urban experience. Innovative tactical, social, ecological, and economic incubators along a 1.2 mile linear park stretching down Worthington Street will activate the Union Station District for sustained equity and social change.

Team Springfield “In the Loop”

UMass Amherst Students: Jiaqi Guo, Bryce Lloyd-Hahn, Chris Ramage
UMass Amherst Faculty Advisors: Frank Sleegers, Michael DiPasquale
Participating Springfield City Officials: Brian Connors, Scott Hanson
Community Partnership: RAD Springfield
Project Description: In the Loop advances transportation equity in Springfield by stacking tactical interventions, cultural events, and long-term housing initiatives.