There are many opportunities—and needs—in the world for repairing, restoring, renovating our lands, waters, and communities. Even when we set about to make a new thing in the landscape we can almost always find something that has been degraded and needs fixing. Innovative regenerative design seeks to reclaim and “reground” public spaces such as parks, envision new ecologies for places that have been degraded in any number of ways, and integrate those benefits into communities. Conway students are at the forefront of regenerative design. See how they are re-imagining the world in the project examples below.
Here are some recent projects:
Amherst Landfill: Envisioning Reuse
The town of Amherst has the unique opportunity to re-use its former landfill. This report provides five alternatives that envision reusing the Amherst Landfill with the view that it will someday be ready for reuse. The final proposal creates a plan that accommodates many of the landfills different users, such as the Department of Public Works (DPW), the community, and wildlife. It creates a park with multiple functions interwoven with the department’s uses. The final plan includes the DPW request for a snow dump, compost, vehicle storage areas, and new headquarters that feature solar and wind power, and a green-roof. The proposal accommodates community requests for soccer fields, nature trails, a running track, a dog park, a sculpture garden, and a site for community partnering. Wildlife habitat areas are set aside, offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy nature.
Urban Ground: An Urban Natural Burial Guide & Suitability Study
A leader in cemetery and park design since its inception—an inspiration, in fact, for Central Park—Mount Auburn Cemetery continues to be a bellwether. Now the cemetery would like to become one of the nation’s first major urban burial grounds to explore natural burial, a sustainable and biodegradable form of burial. The cemetery, placed at the edge of the growing city of Cambridge, was to be not simply a burial ground but a haven from urban life, a place of natural beauty and abundance in the Picturesque style, which featured soft, pastoral landscapes adorned with neoclassical buildings and sculptures.
The goal of the Katywil community is to establish an ecologically and socially sustainable community in Colrain, Massachusetts that is hoped can serve as a model of sustainability that other communities can strive toward. The Katywil Community Commons Master Plan is an adaptable long-range plan that responds to the needs of the community and identifies suitable areas for a community garden, edible forest gardens, community gathering spaces, meadows, natural areas, and trails that connect the residents to the community and the landscape. The proposed plan attempts to integrate the individual homes into a unified community with a shared harvest, shared work, and shared experience of the natural environment.
Lowell’s Riverside Park
The City of Lowell Division of Planning and Development hired a student team from the Conway School to develop a park master plan for a 4.5-acre site on the Merrimack River. The resulting plan designed a variety of site amenities and envisioned the park as the site of evolving community engagement and ecological diversity.