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

Publication Date

Spring 2012


Graduate Urban Design Studio Spring 2012,

Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning and the UMass Amherst Design Center

Frank Sleegers, Assistant Professor, DIPL. – Ing. MLA,

Edited by: Nathan Frazee and Frank Sleegers


The report documents design investigations for Springfield’s Indian Orchard neighborhood. The Graduate Urban Design Studio focused on the exciting area along the Chicopee River from the Indian Orchard Mills to the spectacular outlook at Indian Leap and the neighborhood gateway at the Ludlow Bridge. The primary goal of the project was to unveil the unique assets and character of the area, make these assets more accessible and legible and thus strengthen the identity of Indian Orchard as a vibrant place for its residents and visitors. Crucial keys to attaining this goal are: acknowledging the strong industrial heritage; improving connectivity to the banks of the Chicopee River, the spectacular falls and the great parks. The open space system does not stop at municipal boundaries. It has to be developed with a sense for regional connectivity along rivers and streams and has to take potential connections like old railroad corridors.

The studio articulated three major design objectives:

  1. Designing Main Street as the spine for the project area and beyond. How are gateways to Main Street legible from the west and the north? How is the Chicopee River accessible from Main Street?
  2. Designing the edge of the Chicopee River as a system that connects to the City of Chicopee in the west and to the city of Ludlow in the east. Creating view points and access points to the River and more legible connections to Main Street and other parks at Indian Orchard.
  3. Making the rich industrial heritage a stronger design element in our area and creating synergies with the art community through public art.

This studio articulated design visions along with strategic planning recommendations. These visions were developed through an active dialogue with stakeholders from the neighborhood. Our plans target to support the community of Indian Orchard in raising their profile within Springfield to prioritize the allocation of investments and planning efforts.