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A National Model for Neighborhood Revitalization

There are no fences here. In the Main South neighborhood of Worcester, Mass., a university and a community have traded barriers for partnership and collaboration. Today the nation looks to Clark University and Worcester’s Main South residents to learn how university-community partnerships can transform declining urban neighborhoods into vibrant communities.

Partners in Urban Development

Since 1985, Clark University has played a leadership role in the Main South community abutting its campus. That relationship was formalized in 1995 when Clark became a primary partner in the broad, grassroots collaboration called the University Park Partnership (UPP).

This partnership connects Clark with neighborhood residents and organizations, local churches, government officials, the business community, and public schools. Together, these groups are organized around the Main South Community Development Corporation (CDC), the neighborhood’s development organization and a key component of UPP.

UPP focuses on four major areas of urban redevelopment:

  • Housing and physical rehabilitation
  • Education
  • Economic development
  • Social and recreational activities for neighborhood residents

The University’s interest in UPP is rooted in its responsibility to the neighborhood and also in its long-standing tradition of applying teaching and learning to real-world problems.

Clark students and faculty conduct research with UPP organizations. They teach in neighborhood schools and serve as mentors to the children of Main South. In addition, many Clark faculty and staff — including Clark’s president — have become neighborhood residents.

Main Street South neighborhood with cars and buildings

Main South Neighborhood

Tied to Worcester’s industrial past, Main South has gone through significant changes over the years. Now a vibrant community, the neighborhood hosts family-owned restaurants, businesses, and affordable housing.

community members looking over basketball court

Accomplishments and Initiatives

From athletic fields to affordable housing, Clark has worked with neighbors and the Main South Community Development Corporation to revitalize the surrounding area.

Student and principal in University Park Campus School hallway

University Park Partnership Scholarships

For more than two decades, Clark University has offered four-year, full-tuition scholarships to qualified University Park neighborhood residents.