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

Publication Date

Spring 2016


Project location: Springfield, MA.

Editing: Michael Abate and Frank Sleegers

This project was sponsored through the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development and the City of Springfield in coordination with the UMass Amherst Design Center.

CLAIMING MARKET PLACE received the 2016 MERIT AWARD from the Boston Society of Landscape Architects.


CLAIMING MARKET PLACE UMass Amherst Design Center in Springfield

Department of Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning

The Senior Urban Design Studio developed a tangible vision for the revitalization of downtown Springfield through creating ideas for the underutilized Market Place block and reconnect it to the urban fabric. We carried out small-scale, temporary urban design installations as wayfinding interventions in the spirit of “tactical urbanism”. These interventions had a real target: the students’ work supported the opening of the Holiday Market in the Market Street block from Thanksgiving to Christmas. The interventions were taken one step further with the development of phased design drawings. The designs support safer walking and bicycling, possibilities to sit and relax, and art-inspired media such as artificial light and color.

Market Place has a prominent location within Downtown Springfield. The site is placed around several hot-spots including the Mass Mutual Center, Symphony Hall, Tower Square, and of course Main Street. These main attractions in the core of Downtown Springfield foster great opportunities for pedestrian interaction with Market Place.

Project Goals:

  • Claiming Market Place as a destination for residents, employees, and visitors through creation of an active and diverse space that contributes to the positive future of the City of Springfield.
  • Providing elegant and pleasant walking connections to Main Street and downtown assets while creating attractive and legible entrances to Market Street.
  • Creating short-term interventions to raise publicity for Market Place.
  • Creating long-term design and programmatic solutions that respect place and people while creating new and meaningful layers through landscape media.
  • The work explores a community service learning strategy within the framework of an urban design studio with the goal of revitalizing the city of Springfield, Massachusetts, through sustainable design, planning, and engagement with the community.