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Research « MIT@Lawrence

Archive for the 'Research' Category

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.

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

MIT, CHAPA and PolicyLink present: Remembering Forgotten Cities Convening at MIT

Remembering Forgotten Cities

Agenda: here

Friday October 12, 2007
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Von Hippel Room (13-2137)
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
Registration at 8:30 am; Program begins at 9:00 am

The Department of Urban Studies and Planning at M.I.T., PolicyLink, and Citizens Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) will host a discussion about the revitalization of Americas Forgotten Cities. This invitation-only roundtable will be held on Friday, October 12, 2007 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

This purpose of this convening is to bring the individual speakers from the 2004-05 series together for one day, along with other leaders who are working to transform such cities, to participate in a discussion and network-building session. At the convening, we expect to accomplish three goals:

  • Share the Voices from Forgotten Cities report and allow seminar series participants to talk about their experiences undertaking revitalization in smaller industrial cities;
  • Discuss, and get feedback on, the framework for practice in forgotten cities that Prof. Hoyt is developing to guide future academic work; and
  • Share the state and national comparative research and policy initiatives being undertaken by numerous organizations including CHAPA, PolicyLink, and the Brookings Institution

For more information about this convening, please feel free to contact Jesse Kaminsky

Predatory Lending

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.