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Eleven students plus three instructors took part in this studio. The Option Design Studio chose Holyoke, as one of the 'Gateway Cities' of Massachusetts and strove to understand what this historically significant city will experience as a result of the climate crisis and to propose solutions seen through the lens of landscape architecture. 


Holyoke also was a city that was overlaid with one of the first generations from Puerto Rico in the U.S. combined with those who have also relocated there after the tragic hurrican a few years ago. 



Everyone made a four day visit to Holyoke in February 2020 to observe the urban systems, fabric, architecture and first hand to get a sense of the city and meet with as many civic and community leaders plus organisations as possible. 

In order to see the entire town within a relatively short amount of time, windshield surveys were conducted every evening as the group returned to their hotel. They drove north along Route 5 and experienced the peripheral neighbourhoods and the scenic views long the Connecticut River.

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Windshield survey routes the Studio travelled

We wish to acknowledge and thank the people who helped contribute to the success of this studio. 

Martha Schwartz, Professor in Practice Dept. of Landscape Architecture 
Harvard GSD
Paola Sturla, Lecturer, Dept. of Urban Design Harvard GSD
Edith Katz, Teaching Associate Dept. of Landscape Arch. Harvard GSD
Dominic Riola. Teaching Assistant. Dept. of Landscape Arch. Harv. GSD

Robert O'Connor, Dir. Div. of Conservation Services for assistance in obtaining a Planning Grant for the City of Holyoke and for his enthusiastic support of this project. 

City of Holyoke
Marcos Marrero (former) Director of Planning and Econ. Development
Curtis Wiemann, Planner
Aaron Vega, Director
Yoni Glogower, Director, Dept. of Conservation + Sustainability
Enlace de Familias, Betty Lichtenstein
Holyoke Housing Authority, Sarah Zimbler
Holyoke Hummus, John Grossman
Neuva Esperanza, Kayla Rodriguez
Holyoke Mall Representative