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Practicum « MIT@Lawrence

Archive for the 'Practicum' Category

Fall 2010 Practicum Blog Posts

We chronicled the student experience of the Fall 2010 MIT@Lawrence Practicum through a series of blog posts on MIT CoLab Radio. Check them out at the links below:

2010 Bilingual Practica Reports Available Online

You can view the bilingual final reports from both the Spring and Fall 2010 MIT@Lawrence Practicum courses online:

Bilingual Practicum Final Report (Spring 2010)

Bilingual Practicum Final Report (Fall 2010)

Union Crossing: LCW and the Revitalization of Lawrence, MA

Check out Patricia Molina Costa’s paper, Union Crossing: LCW and the Revitalization of Lawrence, MA. This paper explores the redevelopment of several 19th century mills into a mixed-used area in the city of Lawrence, MA, led by a local Community Development Corporation, Lawrence CommunityWorks (LCW).

Patricia is a Fulbright Scholar who is completing a one year research stay with MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. This paper was written as part of her coursework for Professor Susan Fainstein’s Redevelopment Policy class which is taught at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Patricia also engaged with civic leaders and residents in Lawrence as a student in the Fall 2010 practicum.

Practicum continues MIT’s commitment to the people of Lawrence

This semester, the Lawrence Practicum is focused on transforming abandoned properties into community assets. Students are investigating accountability with bank-owned properties, specifically in regards to maintenance on these foreclosed homes, and how real estate owned (REO) properties can generate revenue for the City of Lawrence. Building upon the strong relationship that was established with the Mayor’s Office during the last practicum in Spring 2010, students continue to work with the Economic and Community Development Departments, while strengthening relationships with Inspectional Services, the Fire Department, the Police Department, and the Planning Department. Furthermore, this semester, the 8th graders who visit MIT from the Lawrence Family Development Charter School will be further incorporated into the practicum work. Stay tuned for more details!

Join Lawrence CommunityWorks for Union Crossing’s Groundbreaking!

Join Lawrence CommunityWorks, Secretary Greg Bialecki and the City of Lawrence to celebrate the start of construction on Union Crossing.  Union Crossing is the redevelopment of an historic but underutilized complex of mill buildings along the Merrimack River into a thriving new neighborhood with housing, jobs and services for Lawrence families and businesses. Union Crossing Phase I is being developed by Lawrence CommunityWorks, in partnership with Lou & Juan Yepez.

You are also invited to join Secretary Bialecki at his first stop of the day, a ribbon cutting for the newly renovated Levis Building at 12 Methuen Street in Lawrence.

Please join us to celebrate this important milestone! Lunch will be served.

What Do You Do?

What do you do when an Italian energy conglomerate owns the alleyways, canals and dam of one of America’s earliest industrial cities and the people of the city want those assets back?

A poster advertising course 11.423: Information, Assets and the Immigrant City sparked controversy when it first appeared along the corridors of Buildings 7 and 9 at MIT in early February 2010.  The poster’s question referred to the ongoing debate in the City of Lawrence, Massachusetts over ownership of the alleyways and canals in the city.  Some say these spaces are owned by the Enel Corporation, the Italian energy conglomerate that, many believe, assumed ownership of these assets when it bought the Essex Company, the group that first constructed the city.  Others argue that the City government is the rightful owner; still others maintain that abutters (property owners whose land is immediately adjacent to an alleyway, for example) own them. While the debate continues over ownership, some residents have tried to maintain the spaces, but most of the alleys and canals have fallen into grave disrepair.

So what do you do? To find out, download and read the final report, Taking Back Lawrence and watch the class reflections. You can also read more about the class’s journey via a series of CoLab Radio posts found below.

Made In America – The Story of Southwick/Union Crossing

southwick buildingThe Lawrence History Center‘s exhibit, Made in America~ Story of Southwick-Union Crossing~People Place, Product will open on June 18th, 2009 at the Lawrence Heritage State Park (One Jackson St, Lawrence, MA), featuring oral history interviews and research done by Lawrence Community Works staff and youth members, and MIT@Lawrence practicum students in Spring 2009.

The exhibit tracks the 100 year history of the Union Crossing site – from manufacturing textiles, shoes and clothing, to creating this vibrant new Lawrence community. Focusing ont eh themes of “People, Place, Product”, the exhibit highlights transformations that took place in the complex and celebrates the spirit of community present throughout the site’s history.

Exhibit Reception, Thursday June 25 5-7pm

Open Daily 9-4pm

June 18th, 2009 – Labor Day

Free Admission

Spring Practicum Course Explores Storytelling at Union Crossing

Check out this video of the final presentation to the Lawrence Community Works Union Crossing Committee, describing programs devised by the graduate and undergraduate students in the Spring 2009 Lawrence practicum course in the Dept of Urban Studies and Planning (11.423 Lawrence Practicum: Info, Assets, and the Immigrant City). The presentation described three ideas for programs where LCW could incorporate storytelling as a process for community building around the re-development of a mill complex into green affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization – through channels such as on-site installation, skill-building workshops that feed into larger events, and virtual story documentation and sharing online on a social network.


Check out the archived Stellar site for the course to learn more about the class.

M@L Story Screening, Expo Success, & Spring ’09 Updates

Have you heard the MIT@Lawrence story lately? Join us for an on-campus screening of the M@L Story Project documentary this Friday May 1st, in the Bush Room of Building 10 at 1:30pm.

The partnership between MIT and the City of Lawrence has grown from a commitment made between the Dept. of Urban Studies & Planning and Lawrence CommunityWorks in 2002 to today’s thriving network of 29 departments, labs and centers at MIT and 27 partner organizations in Lawrence. This year’s initiatives, a mix of new ideas and ongoing projects, include: a practicum course focused on incorporating storytelling as a community-building tool for the nation’s first LEED Platinum certified mill redevelopment project; a strategic city-wide affordable housing plan; a GIS help desk and laboratory; a college prep program for low performing high school freshmen; and a spatial inventory of publicly-owned infrastructure gathered by iHouse undergraduate volunteers. With support from the Co-Lab, we’ve also spent the last year strengthening our student-run management strategy and incorporating collaborative approaches to reflect on our practice and learning.


Earlier this week, we had over fifty attendees at our end-of-year celebration expo in Lawrence where we screened our new documentary and interactive timeline. Special thanks to the hard work of all the guest speakers (including Milagro Grullon and James Barnes from the City of Lawrence Community Development Department, Jess Andors from LCW, and MIT’s own Ezra Glenn and Lorlene Hoyt), old and new partners, the hard-working research assistants, and the sounds of the Bruce Ferrera Quartet who made the night a great success!

Next year, we look forward to welcoming the incoming MCPs and PhDs we recruited and integrating them into such projects as a Lawrence-based green jobs working group and the Lawrence@MIT youth math and science program.