Cover from Springfield project

Cover of the winter 2014 student project for the Springfield Food Policy Council, by Emily Berg, Abigail Elwood, and Rie Macchiarolo ’14

We are excited to introduce our winter term Community Projects in collaboration with communities throughout Massachusetts. Each January, Conway students begin work with nonprofits and municipalities on large-scale community planning projects, with a focus on ecological and social sustainability. Completed Community Projects offer thoughtful, long-term solutions to communities and municipalities that address community needs in consideration of ecological impacts and long-term resilience. Partners come away with plans that are holistic, grounded in the realities of the client communities, and feasible within the scope presentedView sample projects>>


This term’s projects were featured on The Fabulous 413 on New England Public Media!   Listen here>>

Six winter term projects for 2024 cover a breadth of needs including supporting a rural community’s open space planning to facilitating an urban community’s planning for a climate- and pandemic-resilient food system. The student teams will work closely with a core team of three to five community members. Each project contains multiple opportunities for community engagement between January and March. The selected projects are as follows:

  • For the City of Chicopee, MA, a team will examine the options for connectivity between various existing public trails and make recommendations for policy and bylaw changes for implementation. The Conway School has done several previous projects with the City of Chicopee including a rail-trail feasibility study and an urban design project for a popular downtown street. Read more about this project on Masslive>>
  • The Springfield Food Policy Council (Springfield, MA) is working with Conway students to assist in the coordination of a food policy planning effort 10 years after a previous plan completed by a Conway team. The project will focus on the link between a self-sufficient healthy food production/distribution system and the improvement of landscape-related community health outcomes, seeking recommendations for changes to policies, strategies, and regulations to support the path forward. Read more about this project on Masslive>>
  • Greenfield, MA adopted the Sustainable Greenfield Plan in 2014 and requested a 2024 Conway team to assist the town in preparing an update to the land use and resources chapters of the plan. The Sustainable Greenfield effort has been supported by a dedicated group of citizens working together to ensure implementation. Conway has worked with Greenfield on several projects over the past few years, including a downtown “pocket park” design that was implemented in 2022.   Read more about this project in the Greenfield Recorder>>
  • The Town of Petersham, MA is working with Conway students to update the Town’s Open Space and Recreation Plan, including all the chapters, maps, and illustrations required by the state. This rural community is ready to assess their landscape and make positive changes for open space and new recreational opportunities. Read more about this project in the Athol Daily News>>
  • Holbrook, MA  is working with Conway students to prepare a visioning plan before tackling their Open Space and Recreation Plan update in 2025. For this phase, the student team will review the results of a town-wide survey and, through meaningful community engagement, prepare a plan that contains community vision statements, broad goals and policy statements, and recommendations for next steps for land use, natural and cultural resources conservation, climate resilience, open space, and recreation. 
  • A student team will explore climate policy in depth as they work with the City of Weymouth, MA to prepare a Heat Island Mitigation Plan in collaboration with the city’s Conservation Commission and Planning Department. Weymouth is seeking ways to address climate-based impacts in the landscape that create increased heat, and ways to mitigate the related human health effects.

 

Students will present their findings and preliminary planning details at our upcoming Winter Work in Progress Presentations on Friday, February 23rd. Members of the public are invited to attend these presentations via Zoom. Attendance is free, and more information can be found on the event registration page.