Monday, June 22, 2015

Amherst Together Presentation of Public Perception Study, June 25th

Amherst Together, in collaboration with Dr. Flavia Montenegro-Menezes of the University of Massachusetts, Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, will release the final results of the public perception study and will share the report and preliminary conclusions during a public presentation on June 25, 2015 at 6:00 pm at the Jones Library Woodbury Room, 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. The presentation will review report highlights with aquestion and answer session to follow. 

The study, performed by Dr. Montenegro-Menezes, took approximately 10 months to complete and included three phases: qualitative data collection that included one-to-one interviews, focus groups, comment boards, maps, marbles, and graffiti walls; online and face-to-face survey collection; and extensive analysis, report preparation and presentation. The study provided an opportunity to engage the community in dialogue about values, identity and wellbeing, in order to gauge values and understand how residents perceive the community and their overall quality of life in Amherst.The surveys were fairly distributed amongst thetown’s voting precincts, and the level of participation far exceeded the expectations of Dr. Montenegro-Menezes and Amherst Together.

“We spent extra time out in the field to obtain valid sampling from each of the voting precincts and we managed to gather more information from more people than any of us had hoped. It has taken additional work, including the need to recruit a fresh round of student volunteers, but they were spectacular. We gathered the input of 1052 participants in the overall process and collected 456 survey responses, which exceeded the initial target (380),” says Dr. Montenegro-Menezes. “The response and comments implythat the residents have a strong interest in this community.The study and the overall outreach will have long-lasting benefits for the community.”

Amherst Together intends to use the final survey results to help identify priorities for Amherst Together and develop recommendations for collective impact, to be addressed over the next several years.

“A tremendous amount of work went into this effort. Dr. Montenegro-Menezes and research analyst Jennifer Stromsten went above and beyond to provide this service and deliver a comprehensive report for our community. This study, based on reliable and validated data collection, gives us solid information for continuing our efforts to encourage authentic collective action,” stated Carol Ross, of Amherst Together.

Recent Amherst Together activities include the TAP THE MAP! online interactive map, the Who Are You? Identity Challenge and the Eyes Are The Window digital poetry exhibit. Amherst Together is a town-wide project intended to creatively advance community, collaboration, equity, and inclusion.For more information or to get involved, contact Carol Ross at 413-362-1820 or,