Warning: (lawrence) Creating default object from empty value in /afs/athena.mit.edu/org/l/lawrence/web_scripts/wp1/wp-content/plugins/members/includes/functions.php on line 21
Students « MIT@Lawrence

Archive for the 'Students' Category

Student Photo Collections

Past, Present, Vision. 2007. (Danielle Martin)

Additional Photos taken by Danielle Martin

Lawrence, a forgotten city. 2007. (Debmalya Guha)

Photos taken by Jeffrey Beam

View MIT@Lawrence photos or videos on Flickr

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:

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.

Looking for a redevelopment site for a project, paper or thesis? Opportunity in Lawrence, MA

Everett Mills Real Estate is looking for students to help them examine two redevelopment projects – the Everett Mill and the Stone Mill. The Everett Mill is 525,000 square feet of mixed use/light industrial space, currently at 55% occupancy. The Stone Mill is 100,000 square feet at 50% occupancy. Everett Mills Real Estate hopes to work with a student to evaluate the cost/benefit of physical improvements to the parking yards and vertical systems including elevators and lobby cores. They are particularly interested in developing a plan to maximize the large floor plates, ample parking, excellent transit, good workforce and reasonable rent structure to meet the right industry. Lastly, they are also interested in developing a business attraction strategy to bring new industry to fill the space and join the Lawrence economy. If interested, please contact Marianne Paley Nadel at (617) 504-5331.

Green Jobs on the Ground

Marianna Leavy-Sperounis made this video in support of her Master’s Thesis, “Manufacturing Recovery: A Networked Approach to Green Job Creation in Massachusetts Gateway Cities.” Here she highlights the particular toll that the economic crisis has taken on the city of Lawrence, Massachusetts, and the story of one resident who is interested in finding employment in the clean energy sector. (Music credit: Jay Calder, “The 2nd Quadrant.”) THESIS ABSTRACT: In “Manufacturing Recovery,” Marianna compares workforce development planning in Lawrence and Lowell, Massachusetts. She specifically examines local planning processes around job creation in the clean technology sector. She aims to show that the differences between the two cities’ approaches to workforce planning (1) Reflect differences between them that date back to their original physical designs, (2) Contradict the myth of Lawrence and Lowell as “urban twins,” and (3) Highlight the need for stronger, place-specific green job creation policies for the state’s post-industrial “Gateway” cities. She concludes by proposing a collaborative and networked planning model that, with support from the State, might help Lawrence and Lowell to better leverage their respective assets and support a regional green economy.

Past Student Projects

Deployment of Reflection and Other Methods Recording and Disseminating Community-Based Knowledge (aka “The Story Project”)

MIT began to systematically examine and document the history and experience of the MIT@Lawrence partnership for the purpose of learning, strengthening relationships, and disseminating community-based knowledge and strategies for working in other struggling post-industrial cities. This work, named “The Story Project” as its working title, aims to shed light on the principles of network organizing, a theory of practice developed by community partners, which have guided some of the most effective community revitalization work and projects in Lawrence.

Predatory Tales: The Story of OsmaraThe Story of Isabel and Advice from the Experts

How have families been coping predatory lending for the past ten years? The predatory lending digital media project brings opportunities for individuals who have been victimized by unscrupulous lenders to tell their stories. Through a digital media workshop, Lawrence community members collaborated with Lawrence Community Works and its community partners, MIT@Lawrence, and MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies to produce video shorts about their individual experiences with the subprime mortgage market using puppets and a puppet stage. Alexa Mills, a 2008 graduate of in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, headed the Predatory Lending Project. She worked with Damon Rich, at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT to produce the video.

Green Jobs Initiative

MIT initiated the Green Jobs Initiative, which will facilitate green-interested networking opportunities and build momentum around specific green opportunities within the City of Lawrence. This work aims to leverage Lawrence’s competitive advantage as a city that is green business friendly.”

A digital story by Alexa Mills, describing the connections between MIT and Lawrence, MA.

GIS HelpDesk

Working with numerous organizations and individuals in Lawrence,  MIT initiated the GIS HelpDesk, to provide GIS mapping services and products. In Lawrence, community organizations identified the need for a GIS laboratory located within the City, equipped with the appropriate hardware, software, and skilled GIS technicians in order to benefit from this technology.

Holistic Revitalization in Small Industrial Cities: Ideas and Tools for Urban Housing Development

MIT initiated an examination of emerging ideas and tools for holistic housing development in small industrial cities, using a mixed-use mill redevelopment in Lawrence as its case study. MIT will document the tools and best practices use in order to share replicable aspects of this work with practitioners.

Lawrence@MIT Program

MIT continued and expanded the Lawrence@MIT Field Trip Series. The Lawrence@MIT program is a university-wide partnership with Lawrence Family Development Charter School, and seeks to expand upon science curriculum in the eighth-grade class and inspire students to attend college after graduation.

Lawrence Leadership Program

MIT initiated the Lawrence Leadership Project in collaboration with the Higher Education Resource Center (HERC) and Lawrence High School Learning Center. This school-based program works to create a support network for college bound youth within Lawrence public high schools.

Mapping City Assets

Working with CDD and the Department of Public Works on a project called Mapping City Assets, MIT undergraduates who are a part of iHouse will collect spatial data on city assets in the Arlington Neighborhood, which is one of three identified Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Areas in Lawrence. Students will use GPS technology to map the location of fire hydrants, manholes, and other essential infrastructure data points.

Strategic Plan for the Development of Affordable Housing

MIT and the City of Lawrence Community Development Department commenced a housing study aimed at assessing the current community housing conditions and needs, and creating a strategic plan to achieve a mix of housing types suitable to the goals of the City and its residents.

Union Crossing Interpretive History Project

The initial phase of this project had the goal to empower Lawrence youth to conduct, record and edit audio interviews with employees of the relocating Southwick Company and key participants in the Union Crossing re-development project.

Green Jobs, Leadership Curriculum, and More

We’ve just updated the list of research from M@L graduate assistants and friends, including new research on green jobs, regional economic growth in Merrimack Valley, and career and technical education in our new Class Papers or Projects section. Also, check out the extensive new curriculum for networking college bound high school students, developed for the Lawrence Leadership Project in Spring 2009 and the notes from the first year of the Green Jobs Working Group.

Also, check out more video interviews from the M@L Story Project and leave a comment on our new academically enhanced version of the M@L Story documentary entitled Sustained City-Campus Engagement: Reflections on Our Practice on our MIT TechTV collection at http://techtv.mit.edu/collections/mitatlawrence.


If you like these videos, you’ll also like videos from our friends at the Community Innovator’s Lab (Co-Lab) focusing on how communities like Lawrence and departments at MIT can work together to solve the challenges of civic engagement, environmental sustainability, and economic development in the time of crisis and stimulus. Check them out on TechTV and CoLab Radio - a place to find out about innovative things happening in communities, to explore the relationship between communities and universities.

City of Lawrence launches “Green Commons” collective marketing campaign

by Jeff Beam, MCP/MSRED, 2009
Research Assistant, MIT@Lawrence

In October 2008, the City of Lawrence Community Development Department released the MIT@Lawrence-produced “Green Commons” brochure as part of a collective marketing campaign for the range of sustainable initiatives currently underway throughout the City. The brochure provides information and outreach for a variety of private ventures, non-profit programs and development, and public and university initiatives, including:

  • A 392 solar panel array generating 121 kilowatts of clean, renewable energy atop Sal’s Riverwalk, a commercial mill redevelopment;
  • Private Lawrence entrepreneurs building businesses around renewable energy, sustainable modular housing and water-conservation fixtures;
  • A multi-year initiative to create a 1.3 mile park system and pedestrian walkway along the Merrimack River;
  • A collaborative task force for public health issues, consisting of businesses, health care providers, environmental groups, institutions and planners;
  • A 400,000 square foot mixed-income housing and commercial development that transforms a complex of former industrial mill buildings into a new neighborhood.

The initial distribution placed 1000 copies in city buildings, departments and public areas as well as City-sponsored conferences and seminars. Ellen Minzner of the Community Development Department spent a year working with MIT@Lawrence research assistant Jeffrey Beam to investigate and catalogue the growing network of green initiatives. The Green Commons brochure represents the beginning of an ongoing project to achieve a more sustainable Lawrence.

For more information on the Greening of Lawrence, contact the City of Lawrence: (978) 620-3510 or www.cityoflawrence.com.

Homeownership Preparation Program

In 2007, the Homeownership Preparation Program sought to capacitate the Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Lawrence, MA with enough tools to effectively prepare their homeowners for successful homeownership. The project gathered information from homeowners to understand recent homeownership challenges and will then tailor programs aimed to meet these needs. This project sought to serve the Lawrence community by increasing the number of successful homeowners and contributing to community stabilization.

The author, Carlos J. Espinoza-Toro, was a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, and headed the Homeownership Preparation Program.

Final Report

Housing Acquisition Project

Aaron Stelson, a first year Masters Student, performs community-based service working in Lawrence Community Work‘s real estate department to track properties. The department is always on the lookout for putting new properties back into productive community use through affordable housing development.

Aaron helps them research and identify properties that have fallen into tax lien or land court or general disuse.