About This Initiative
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is seeking to create a Center for Urban Sustainability at the site of the former UMass Suburban Experiment Station on Beaver Street in Waltham. The Massachusetts 2014 Environmental Bond authorizes potential funding to develop the Center. Leadership for this effort has strong support from the agricultural, horticultural and landscape industries and 4-H in Massachusetts. A concept for reuse was developed in 2013 and can be found in the Introductory Brochure available below.
The site is managed by UMass Extension, part of the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment at UMass Amherst. We envision this 58-acre site, 10 miles from downtown Boston, filled with practical application and demonstration of cutting-edge sustainable agriculture and landscape methods, including a ‘green’ 20,000 square foot building which will act as a front door portal for “all-things sustainable.” Science-based practices will be showcased that benefit the citizenry and economic vitality of the Commonwealth. We envision this site as metropolitan Boston’s “sustainability mall” with organizational offices, conference and learning spaces inside the building complemented by community-supported farming, agricultural incubator enterprises practicing urban farming of the future, applied research and demonstration of best green landscape practices for urban and suburban residents on the surrounding land. Priority objectives include programs related to food security and access, environmental stewardship, urban agriculture and workforce development in urban settings.
Student Design Projects
During the fall semester of 2014, design studio classes were held at both UMass Amherst and at Boston Architectural College looking at reuse options for portions of the site. At UMass Amherst, the students attended a course called “Sustainable Community Development,” taught by Professors Mark Lindhult of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning and Kathleen Lugosch of the Department of Architecture. These students were asked to look at the portion of the site south of Beaver Street and develop options for use as the “sustainability mall.” Nine projects were completed and presented at the end of the semester. Photographs of the presentations are shown below. At Boston Architectural College, four students in the “Gateway Initiative” studying with Professors Danielle Alexander and Jack Cochran were asked to look at the north portion of the site and develop concepts for the “urban homestead of the future.” The students collaborated on a single comprehensive plan that can be found in the downloadable document below.
Student Design Project, Boston Architectural College (2014) – Please note that this is a 79-megabyte PDF file and may be slow to download for some users.
Student Design Project, UMass Amherst (2014)