The goal of Planning Studio is to develop a student’s techniques for collecting, analyzing, synthesizing spatial and non-spatial data and presenting that collective data in a manner (i.e., report, video, presentation, charettes) that is understandable to academics, professionals, and the public. Planning Studio allows students to integrate knowledge from coursework and research, and apply such knowledge to resolving representative planning problems. At UMASS Amherst, these problems are found in neighborhood, rural, urban, and/or regional settings. In Fall 2013, the course completed three projects: Master Plans & Land-Use Elements, the Revitalization of the Lower Worthington Street District (Springfield, MA), an Asset map and plan for Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club (Springfield, MA).
For the Master Plans & Land Use Element evaluations, this assignment was conducted as preparation for the Springfield-based projects. The goal was to evaluate the land-use element of a municipal master plan, while allowing the students to develop as teams and refine their analytical skills. Each team read the master plan’s introduction and land-use element, examined development that has occurred within the last five to ten years, and determined if recent development was consistent with the goals, objectives, policies, and programs of the adopted master plan. If the master plan was recently adopted, then the students were to determine if the master plan would correct any deficiencies. Materials for this project include an Executive Summary for all analyses and a Poster.