The first important decision by the Studio was to focus upon the southern neighborhoods of the Flats and South Holyoke which together comprise their own kind of ' peninsula.'

The first exercise analyzed the existing urban land uses and a concept emerged that would address a problem perceived during the site visit.  The core and the southern neighbohoods felt disconnected. 



In response a new swath or corridor was suggested between Cabot and Appleton Streets as a framework for activities that sweeps down from the historic core to the waterfront with a new park as the terminus.  

The new axis creates a powerful zone that integrates mixed use density into a community cluster with a circular economic sphere of activity named the ' Loop".   


The LOOP also creates a transitional neighborhood between the Flats and South Holyoke through which the railyards become an urban plaza and park creating a new magnet for commerce, education and living.    

The LOOP is distinguished by a circular economic strategy that synergistically feeds back inputs and outputs.