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

Publication Date

Fall 2015


Department of Landscape and Regional Planning – Masters of Regional Planning

Planning Studio REGIONPL 675


Darrel Ramsey-Musolf, Assistant Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning.


Stephanos Koullias


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 2015, the City of Pittsfield contracted the MRP Studio to create a vision plan to connect the goal’s of its Master Plan in 2009 to current development regulations that encourage development and redevelopment of an appropriate size, scale and design that meets the short term and long term vision of the community. The vision plan encompasses the following:

  1. Spatial and Physical Boundaries of Major Gateway Corridors: Analyze the major gateways and develop tools to make them more welcoming.
  2. Permitted Use Table and Definitions: Review, clarify, and consolidate the land-uses listed in the table to assess deficiencies and unclear definitions.
  3. Design Guidelines: Create a manual to guide architectural aesthetic standards for new retail developments.
  4. Sign Ordinance: Implement a streamlined regulation that improves sign quality.
  5. Site Plan Review: Develop thresholds to create clearer processes for review of development projects.
  6. Resolution for Split Parcels: Identify all properties that fall within two zoning districts and develop a mitigation tool.
  7. Pro Forma and Multi-Family Housing: Develop a financial model that will estimate the construction and maintenance cost of multi-family housing units and make projections for new development’s financial return.