Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning Studio and Student Research and Creative Activity

Publication Date

Fall 2011


Urban Art Laboratory

Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning Frank Sleegers, Assistant Professor, Dipl. – Ing., MLA

Report edited by: Yiwei Huang

Students: Carli Foster, Elizabeth Englebretson, Yiwei Huang, Eric Wojtowicz:


POPULATION 7 started as an experiment in the fall of 2011 as an Urban Art Laboratory “Art – Place – Tour” with the vision to make a tangible impact to the culture of public art in Springfield. At first sight art seems to be not existent in the public realm. We are searching for an organic, sustainable concept with the potential to grow from inside to outside. Our goal is to invite to a discussion about public art and art in general that is introduced through minimal but diverse, economical eventually temporary, site-responsive interventions. We see our art as personal statements that we bring to Springfield to open up a dialogue. This dialogue has the intention to be inclusive to other groups or individual approaches to facilitate and encompass diversity. In this context the makers of POPULATION 7 are subjects of a discovery tour; they learn from the visitors as much as they share and give with their individual personal art work. Area and Place

The project area is the upper Lyman Warehouse in Springfield, MA.

Vacant lots and vacant buildings dominate the scene of a formerly flourishing business district for food storage and production. Can public art stop further decay and send out a positive signal and bring the upper Lyman Warehouse district back to the map and our attention?


POPULATION 7connects the already existing public artworks and places in Downtown Springfield to create a comprehensive understanding along a guided tour that reframes the City. The 1.5 mile tour has ever changing perspectives and the stations due to the contributing participants that share their impressions and stories with the group. Visitors are not just spectators but experts.

POPULATION 7 Lyman Street Art Intervention introduced people in Springfield to art as a process-oriented strategy, re-thinking urban environments, and initiating a change of perception - Tangible site responsive interventions as a narrative for new transformative aesthetic experiences. POPULATION 7 reclaimed an underutilized part of the City and brought it to public attention. In the future we want to expand the spirit of POPULATION 7 and reach out for new collaborations with artists, community groups, entrepreneurs and everybody who is excited about urban transformation through art.

The art mural by Professor Frank Sleegers and Chris Johnson COMMUNITY SPIRIT - El ESPIRITU DE LA COMMUNIDAD won an 2012 Merit award by the Boston Society of Landscape Architects.