Rezoning the Acre neighborhood in Lowell, MA

Spring 2019

Course: Core Planning Studio II

"In 1999, the City of Lowell adopted an Urban Renewal Plan for the southern section of the Acre south of Broadway. In this area, where apartments, restaurants, houses, service businesses, and light industrial businesses mix, the city decided that zoning, the group of laws controlling development, should be changed. Following the recommendation of the plan, the City adopted new zoning for the Acre Urban Renewal Area. As it turns out, however, the new regulations fail to guarantee a future Acre where small businesses can thrive on foot traffic or where residents can benefit from their location between Downtown and UMass Lowell’s South Campus."

Grounded on several engagement interviews with local small business owners, I proposed new zoning principles for the Acre neighborhood of Lowell, MA that would accommodate inclusive economic development. I combined form-based coding, traditional Euclidean zoning (which is more progressive than most planners think!), performance zoning, and dynamic zoning. Flip through the images below to see the hand-painted sequence of development that is currently allowed versus what would be more desirable.