For Communities

For forty years, communities, agencies and nonprofit organizations have turned to the Conway School for design and planning assistance.

Conway provides community design and planning services under contract and at cost, primarily for municipal and non-profit organizations.

If your community or non-profit agency needs design or planning assistance, perhaps a team of graduate students from the Conway School can help. Contact David Nordstrom, Administrative Director, by email or at (413) 369-4044  x6 to learn more.

Community Benefit

A thorough study by Conway students, under the direct supervision of professional staff, will help the client/community identify and articulate problems, analyze and assess basic resources, organize and present relevant data, clarify and prioritize goals, identify stakeholders, improve communication among community groups and boards, provide access to new resources, and provide models of successful design or planning projects; and as a result, raise citizen and community awareness about important environmental and planning issues.

Types of Services Offered

  • Design for resilience: food security plans, walkable communities, green burial, sustainable agriculture, planting plans for climate change, reducing chemical inputs through native plant design, stormwater infiltration, permaculture and forest garden design. 
  • Open space planning: natural resource mapping, habitat restoration, open space and recreation plans, conservation planning and management, agricultural preservation plans, greenway studies, reclamation feasibility studies, town common and park design.
  • Town master planning: historic district studies, streetscape renovations, village center revitalization, limited and/or cluster development plans, affordable housing, smart growth management, zoning revision, design review, regulatory evaluation.
  • Site Design:  analysis and assessment of physical features, context, client needs, regulatory restrictions; provision of design alternatives, phased development, cost estimates, and timelines; plans for building location, parking and circulation, grading and planting plans, management plans, conservation restrictions.

Types of Products

  • Site maps: existing conditions, natural resources, site context, assets and constraints
  • Design plans: conceptual, schematic and design alternatives; perspectives and cross-sections
  • Action plans: recommended phasing, management plans, cost estimates
  • Public meetings: facilitation of public input, community and board meetings, formal presentation of designs and planning recommendations
  • Final report: written documentation of project process and recommendations, with reductions of maps and plans, in digital and print form.

Project Costs

The school keeps client costs as low as possible by billing only for reimbursement of expenses directly related to the project, such as travel, postage, drafting and other materials, printing, copying and telephone, and a portion of overhead determined on a per student, per project basis. If consultants are used, their time is billed to clients at costs established in advance. No project fees are paid to students or staff.

Community project costs range from $6,000 – $6,500. If a project offers exceptional or unique educational opportunities, we may be able to negotiate costs.

Timeline

Winter projects: Larger land use planning projects–municipal or regional in scale–are scheduled January through March; a comprehensive written report, with related maps and plans, is presented in print and digitally to the client.

Spring projects: Community-scale projects, somewhat smaller in scope and more detailed in design, are scheduled April through June. A plan set, including construction drawings, planting plans, cost estimates, and other details depending on the project, is provided in print and digitally..

Typical Projects

Since 1972, students at the Conway School of Landscape Design have provided design and planning services to nearly 450 community clients. Some recent projects include:

  • Food security plans: Ajo, AZ; Shelburne Falls and Northampton, MA; Sienna, Italy
  • Urban park designs: Hartford, CT; Worcester, Lowell, and Holyoke, MA
  • Farmland preservation plans: Bloomfield, CT; Holyoke, Northampton and Deerfield, MA
  • Green burial: Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA
  • Brownfields redevelopment: Yankee Rowe Nuclear Power Plant, Rowe, MA; Town landfill, Amherst, MA; Former mill complex, Turners Falls, MA
  • Stormwater management plans: Scenic Hudson, Poughkeepsie, NY; Hopkinton, MA
  • Open space and recreation plans: Ashburnham, Bernardston, and Marshfield, MA
  • Schoolyard/campus design: Longmeadow and Worcester, MA; New Lebanon, NY
  • Urban streetscape designs: Hopkinton and Adams, MA; Monterrey, Mexico
  • Land management plans: Alto Palguin, Chile; Kripalu Center, Stockbridge, MA; Walden Pond, Concord, MA
  • Homeland security landscape plan: Westover Air Reserve Base, Chicopee, MA
  • Watershed resource inventory and growth management plans: Bennett Brook, W. Northfield, MA; Poor Brook, Chicopee and Springfield, MA
  • Site plans for affordable housing projects: Franklin County Community Development Corporation, Greenfield, MA; Northampton Area Community Land Trust; South County Community Action, Richmond, RI; Habitat for Humanity, North Adams, MA
  • Reclamation guidelines and schematic park design: Quabbin Fishing Area, Belchertown, MA; Blackstone River Park, Grafton, MA
  • Open space residential development alternatives: Brunelle Farm, Rutland, MA; properties in Northborough, Sudbury, and S. Dartmouth, MA
  • Playground designs: Ohio Avenue, West Springfield, MA; Crocker Farm School, Amherst, MA; Lawrence School, Holyoke, MA
  • Wildlife sanctuary master plans: Connecticut Audubon Society, Pomfret, CT; Hoar Sanctuary, Brookline, MA; Massachusetts Audubon Society, Attleboro, MA
  • Camp master plans: 4-H Camp Center, Spencer, MA; Camp Howe, Goshen, MA; Roaring Brook Camp, Conway, MA; Tully Lake, Royalston, MA
  • Rail-trail feasibility studies: Taunton-to-Somerset, Belchertown, and East Longmeadow, MA
  • Greenway design and riverway access: Westfield River; Merrimack River; Connecticut Riverwalk; Middle River; Worcester; Winthrop; South Shore, MA, and Azuero Penninsula, Panama
  • Main Street and town common designs: South Deerfield, MA; Groton, MA; Salem, NH; Wendell, MA; Central campus design, Greenfield Community College; Eaglebrook School, Deerfield, MA; Hampshire College, Amherst, MA

Our guidelines preclude unfair competition with professional landscape architects.


 What our clients have said:

“Thank you, again, for your assistance with our landscape design at The Food Bank. Your contribution was helpful in our obtaining GOLD certification of Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design for our facility from the U.S. Green Building Council.” – Andrew Morehouse, Food Bank of Western Massachusetts

“The technical help you provide was just what we needed. You were able to change an unmanageable problem into an interesting project that has many Sherborn residents thinking seriously about flexible zoning, land trusts, grants, and even land banking. Your report presented a huge amount of information with the perfect combination of text and maps to make the report a pleasure to read.…Everyone on our Open Space Committee…has been thrilled!” – Barbara Kantorski, Open Space Planning Committee, Sherborn, Mass.