The Perceptions report presents the results of the ‘Amherst Together - UMass Engaged’ project, conducted from August 2014 to June 2015. This collaborative effort joined the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning (LARP) and the Amherst Together Initiative to engage our culturally and socially diverse community in a dialogue about values, identity and perceived quality of life.
The structure of the PERCEPTIONS report reflects the two distinct outreach initiatives: The first part presents findings from the ‘Values and Wellbeing Survey’ applied town-wide, and the second, from the Public Participation class work with target population groups. Although not exhaustive, the information reveals manifold perspectives on the Amherst community, building from the individual perceptions, preferences, reflections and aspirations of its members. Aligned with the Amherst Together Initiative goals, it also moves the focus from pluralistic models towards a collective interest model to reveal patterns of values associated with the place and its culture, as well as pathways for improved wellbeing and livability in the community. We hope this work will support the Amherst Together Initiative, the local institutions and the local people in their continuing efforts to stimulate productive dialogue to address community issues while celebrating its diversity.
"This study, based on reliable and validated data collection, gives us solid information for continuing our efforts to encourage authentic and equitable collective action.” –Carol Ross, Amherst Together
“We already collaborate in many ways with the community and this is one more opportunity for us to make sure our work together is effective and authentic.” –Maria Geryk, Superintendent of Schools
“The success of bringing our very diverse community together can only occur when the entire community is engaged…This collaborative effort with Amherst Together, Professor Montenegro and the UMass graduate students greatly increases our ability to accomplish this goal.” –John Musante, Town Manager