Assignments

This section contains both an overview of the assignments, as well as a listing of specific assignments by session and the student reports and presentations. All student work is courtesy of the students named and used with permission.

Overview of the Client and Project Focus

Viet-AID & Fields Corner

Established in 1995, Viet-AID is the first and only grassroots CDC founded and operated by Vietnamese refugees and immigrants in the U.S. Located in the Fields Corner neighborhood of Dorchester, Viet-AID seeks to build a strong Vietnamese American community in Boston and a vibrant Fields Corner neighborhood. This mission is anchored by four basic goals:

  1. to engage Vietnamese residents in community organizing efforts,
  2. to promote economic development and self sufficiency,
  3. to build affordable housing for residents, and
  4. to foster youth leadership.

Fields Corner is one of the most diverse and lowest-income neighborhoods in Boston as well as a diverse and vibrant commercial district. At 1.2 square miles, Fields Corner is home to 20,000 residents and 60 plus Vietnamese businesses, among others. The area is accessible by subway and bus. Serious environmental pollution is a result of the many auto-related uses in Fields Corner, as well as other instigators of pollution. Disinvestment and lack of sound economic infrastructure as well as regular city services have contributed to the economic blight of the area.

Viet-AID's goal for this project is to develop a comprehensive strategic plan that will:

  1. identify strategies for new business start-up and expansion to increase employment opportunities and create assets and wealth;
  2. identify strategies to work with the auto-related businesses in the area that result in positive environmental and economic impacts; and,
  3. build capacity of Vietnamese entrepreneurs to incorporate environmentally and economically sound business practices.

JPNDC & Jackson Square

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) was founded in 1977 to work closely with neighborhood residents, organizations and businesses committed to planning and carrying out community development projects to benefit low-income residents of Jamaica Plain. Together they work to maintain diversity and revitalize the Jamaica Plain neighborhood through a comprehensive strategy for community empowerment, economic development, and affordable housing. JPNDC has built or renovated 300 units of housing and created 600 jobs. More than 500 JPNDC members play an active role in organizing neighborhood festivals, cleanups and other activities. Their approach is rooted in the belief that the active involvement of community members is absolutely critical. Resident input and control is built through participatory planning processes, the integration of community organizing into projects, and leadership development.

Jackson Square, the study area, has undergone an intensive, community-centered planning process over the last four years. The Jackson Square Coordinating Group (JCG) involves over 30 community-based organizations and was appointed by Mayor Menino in 1999 to develop priorities around vacant and under-utilized land in Jackson Square.

JPNDC's goals for this project include gaining insights and strategies for the Jackson Square site that will:

  1. provide well-paid employment opportunities for area residents;
  2. develop affordable housing that meets the needs of area residents;
  3. empower community members to direct and inform the development process for land in their neighborhood;
  4. restore contaminated spaces to vital use;
  5. ensure that redeveloped land will not become a Brownfield of tomorrow;
  6. address issues of mobility, community health, energy production, and overall environmental impact through responsible approaches to design, material and system choice, and construction; and
  7. build community capacity for and understanding of sustainable development.
     
SES #TOPICSASSIGNMENTS
Part I: Courses and Project Introduction; Sustainable Development Concepts and Theory
1Introduction to Course 
2Introduction to Sustainable Developments Concepts and Theory 
3Concepts and Theory: Brownfields and Neighborhood Development 
4Concepts and Theory: Industrial Ecology and Green Development 
Part II: Existing Conditions Analysis and Formulating Plan Agenda
5Brownfields, Economic Base Analysis, and Indicators 
FTField Trip to Sites 
6Apply Previous Class Content to ProjectsEach team (or a designated sub-group) should discuss the following questions prior to class, prepare a brief (2 page) synopsis of your research plan, and be prepared to discuss your research approach in class. Questions to consider in preparing the plan:

1. Which environmental and economic conditions are most important to evaluate for the neighborhood, project and related sustainability goals? What are appropriate indicators or measures to use to report and track these conditions?

2. What information is already available in the project background materials?

3. What additional information is needed?

4. What data sources exist for this information? Which are most relevant and feasible given the project geography and time frame?

5. What is the research plan to compile and analyze this data in the next 2 to 3 weeks?
7Research Methods: Waste Streams/Emissions and Industry and Cluster Analysis 
8Apply Previous Class Content to ProjectsEach team (or a designated sub-group) should discuss and prepare a brief (2 to 3 page) outline or summary of how they plan to apply the tools presented in Session 7. The following questions are designed to guide each team's deliberations on this work:

1. What appear to be the primary waste/emission sources for the neighborhood?

2. Which ones are most significant given neighborhoods and project goals? Which ones present the best opportunities to address within the project?

3. What are the primary industries and economic clusters in the neighborhood and project area? What appear to be their primary inter-relationships or common "factor" needs?

4. Which industries or clusters are significant sources of emissions or other environment risks?

5. Which ones are most important to the neighborhood and the project goals?

6. What additional information do we need to evaluate and propose an agenda around waste stream and industry/cluster issues?

7. What is the plan to collect and analyze this information?
9Environmental Justice Issues and Market Analysis 
10Apply Previous Class Content to ProjectsEach team (or a designated sub-group) should discuss and prepare a brief (2 to 3 page) outline or summary of how they plan to apply the tools presented in Session 9. The following questions are designed to guide each team's deliberations on this work:

1. What are important environmental justice issues for the neighborhood?

2. What markets are now served by local businesses and what are good market expansion opportunities?

3. Which ones are most significant given neighborhoods and project goals? Which ones present the best opportunities to address within the project?

4. What additional information do we need to evaluate and propose an agenda around waste stream and industry/cluster issues?

5. What is the plan to collect and analyze this information?
11Presentation on Preliminary Findings (Team 1)Each project team will have 30 to 40 minutes to present their existing conditions findings, implications for the project and the initial proposals for the plan focus and agenda. Sample presentations from the course are included below. All work is courtesy of the students named and used with permission.

Outside Class

Class representatives should meet with the client during this week to discuss and get feedback on initial findings and proposed plan agenda.

Jackson Square / Hyde Square Existing Conditions Presentation (PDF - 1.4 MB) - Peter Brandenburg, Shoma Haque, Anne Herbst, Jumana Nabti, and Dhakshike Wickrema.

Planning for Sustainable Development in Fields Corner (PDF - 1.2 MB) - Brian Cheigh, Pankaj Kuman, David Perkes, Heather Seyfang, and Jeanne Zhijun Tan.
12Presentation on Preliminary Findings (Team 2) 
13Feedback, Synthesize, and Reflect 
Part III: Plan Building Blocks: Environmental and Economic Development Polices and Interventions
14Technology Transfer, Green Design, and Industrial EcologyEach group should write-up the first section of the report, which includes assessment and existing conditions analysis. Sample reports from the course are included below. All work is courtesy of the students named and used with permission.

Jackson Square / Hyde Square Existing Conditions Report (PDF - 1.5 MB) - Peter Brandenburg, Shoma Haque, Anne Herbst, Jumana Nabti, and Dhakshike Wickrema.

Planning for Sustainable Development in Fields Corner Phase I: Existing Conditions Report (PDF - 2.3 MB) - Brian Cheigh, Pankaj Kumar, David Perkes, Heather Seyfang, and Jeanne Zhijun Tan.
15Apply Previous Class Content to ProjectsEach team (or a designated sub-group) should discuss the following questions and write a brief (2 or 3 pages) outline or summary of their initial thoughts on how to apply the technology-based policies and practices presented in Session 14 to their project.

1. What opportunities exist to apply these approaches within their project and what are the desired outcomes that would result?

2. What are the critical barriers faced in utilizing these approaches?

3. What are your initial ideas about how to apply them to the project?

4. What capacities, resources and relationships are needed to apply your ideas for these technologies and technology transfer tools?

5. What additional information, research, or analysis is needed to develop and test these components of the plan?
16Brownfields and Real Estate Development 
17Apply Previous Class Content to ProjectsEach team (or a designated sub-group) should discuss the following questions and write a brief (2 or 3 pages) outline or summary of their initial thoughts on how to apply the brownfields and/or real estate development policies and practices presented in Session 16 to their project.

1. What opportunities exist to apply these approaches within your project and the desired outcomes that will result?

2. What are the critical barriers faced in utilizing these approaches?

3. What are your initial ideas about how to apply them to the project?

4. What capacities, resources and relationships are needed to apply your ideas for these technologies and tech transfer tools?

5. What additional information, research, or analysis is needed to develop and test these components of the plan?
18Small Business Development and Land Use Planning 
19Apply Previous Class Content to ProjectsEach team (or a designated sub-group) should discuss the following questions and write a brief (2 or 3 pages) outline or summary of their initial thoughts on how to apply the policies and practices presented in Session 18 to their project.

1. What opportunities exist to apply these approaches within the project and what are the desired outcomes that will result?

2. What are the client's and other organization's existing activities in these areas and are there important gaps or areas for improvement or extension of this work?

3. What are your initial ideas about how to apply/extend these approaches to advance the client's and community's goals?

4. What capacities, resources and relationships are needed to implement these ideas?

5. What additional information, research, or analysis is needed to develop and test these components of the plan?

Outside Class

Students should meet with the client to review their proposals and plan elements and gain feedback on them.
Part IV: Plan Formulation
20Initial Ideas 
21Elements of a Plan 
22Synthesize 
23Refine and Practice 
24Refine and Practice 
25Reflection 
26Final Projects DueFinal reports are included in the projects section.