This collaboration has allowed Amherst Together to conduct a research study in an effort to understand how residents perceive the community and their overall quality of life, resulting in the Perceptions Report.

Dr. Montenegro-Menezes is a member of the faculty of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at UMass. She received her PhD in social sciences, regional planning, and environment, and her Master’s degree in development and integrated regional planning— within the UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Development—both in France. Formerly, as an architect and urban planner in Brazil, Dr. Montenegro-Menezes developed and managed several projects dealing with community engagement, endogenous development, and regional environmental issues. Her research, teaching, and outreach interests involve the correlations between cultural and biological diversity with regard to the well-being and adaptive capacity of societies and the integrity of their environments. Her current research focuses on methodological frameworks for quantifying assessment metrics and bringing cultural values into planning models, under the Historic Urban Landscapes (HUL) approach.

Jennifer Stromsten recently completed a Masters in Regional Planning at UMass Amherst, with a thesis focused on sustainable land use and economic development. Jen has a special interest in rural economies and quality of life. As a Research Assistant, Jen worked with Dr. Montenegro-Menezes over several years to help develop and test tools for community engagement. Before becoming a planner Jen worked in non-profit fundraising and volunteer management. She lives in Franklin County, MA with her husband, a historian of technology, and two teenage daughters. 

UMass-Engaged! is a group of caring, conscious, innovative—completely remarkable graduate students studying Theory and Practice of Public Participation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with Professor Flavia Montenegro-Menezes.  The activities developed this semester provide research and facilitation for enabling inclusive participation from Amherst residents.