The goal of the Master of Regional Planning Studio is to develop a student’s techniques for collecting, analyzing, and synthesizing spatial and non-spatial data and then presenting that collective data in a manner (i.e., report, video, presentation, and 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 the fall of 2014, three local governments contracted with the MRP Studio to create separate vision plans that focused on key aspects of community revitalization. The City of Chicopee tasked the graduate student team (Hills House Planners) with developing a conceptual vision plan for Memorial Drive.” Currently, the Chicopee Planning Department lacked critical planning data for the corridor, and also has no adopted citywide master plan guiding development. The new vision seeks to include not only the existing car oriented infrastructure, but also to better integrate other uses for Memorial Drive, as well as a residential and commercial rebranding.