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Individual Student Projects « MIT@Lawrence

Individual Student Projects

Outside of the Practicum, MIT@Lawrence encourages students bring their academic and professional interests into the Lawrence community through work as research internships, class assignments, theses and even dissertations.

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.


Past Projects

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.

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.

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.

Past Projects

  • YouthBuild Lawrence Empowerment Project
  • Energy Efficiency Project
  • Green Commons
  • Collective Economies Project
  • IDA Program Expansion
  • Mill Area Business Improvement District (see Rothrock, Laura under Theses + Publications)
  • Housing Choice & Mobility
  • SAT Prep
  • What’s Up? Lawrence
  • Environmental Education & Youth Leadership
  • Homeownership Preparation Project