Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Community Planning (MCP)


Community Planning

First Advisor

Farhad Atash


This thesis project is an historical analysis of the Billerica Garden Suburb planned in 1914 with the benefit of the Massachusetts Homestead Commission's advice. The Billerica Garden Suburb is a unique example of providing affordable housing through working partnerships with many stakeholders including: industry (Boston & Maine Railroad), government (Massachusetts Homestead Commission), city planners (Arthur C. Corney), landscape architects (Warren H. Manning), the community and the workers.

Chapter One, Forces Behind the Development of the Billerica Garden Suburb, examines the political, economic and social forces involved in the development of affordable housing for workers as people became concentrated in urban centers in response to immigration and the industrial revolution prior to World War I.

Chapter Two, Planning the Billerica Garden Suburb, looks closely at the significance of the Billerica Garden Suburb and the planning issues facing rural towns along powerful rivers. Pressure to create healthy housing for workers is also explored as labor strengthens and brings attention to the hazards of their living conditions.

Chapter Three, Billerica Garden Suburb discusses the planning elements· and the physical design elements of both the site plan and the cottage design.