Holyoke Walk, Ride N' Row


A project aimed at encouraging local families to get to know their city better combining physical activities of a trail walk with interactive opportunities to learn about historical Holyoke, Massachusetts - once the Paper Capital of the World, as well as participating in on-trail activities and community events.  The project is aimed at addressing the following challenges:
  1. promoting urban renewal by bringing people and businesses back into the city center (city blight is an issue)
  2. overcoming the perceptions that the city is dangerous (holyoke does have significantly higher crime rates than the US average)
  3. promoting wellness and health (noting the higher than state average obesity and diabetes rate amongst the population) by encouraging exercise and outdoor activity
  4. providing fun free entertainment  (Holyoke has many low income households)
  5. generating city pride in the Paper City
  6. building strong communities through bringing diverse stakeholders together
  7. utilising Holyoke's status as a renewable energy producer by creating sustainable green energy production through physical activity


Full Description

The initiative is situated in part of the canal district of Holyoke and combines a walking trail along the canal and  the High Street with interactive points of historical interest as well as on site activities along the trail including community garden plots, outdoor fitness stations including rowing and bike machines (potential to use water bikes to generate electricity as part of Holyoke clean, green energy based on, street art and graffiti wall. 

The walk takes in the  area bordered by Hampden Street, Hampshire Street, Chestnut St and Canal St.  The trail will pass by local sites such as the Paper City Brewery, the Volleyball Hall of Fame, Holyoke Children's Museum, City Hall, the Library and 4 parks.

The initiative will involve local community organizations to creat a Spring-Fall program incorporating the Trail including food fairs, farmers market, block parties, musical, film and dance festivals.  Members of the Historical Society and other volunteers will be approached to be Walk Ambassadors and to generate the historical content that can be used as part of an interactive history website linked via Facebook.  (The people of Holyoke are recognized as active Facebook users).

Community organizations will also be key in generating awareness of the Walk, Ride N' Row initiative.  There is a need for some investment by the City Council to ensure that the trail is accessible, that there is sufficient lighting, benches and a visible police presence.  They would also need to invest in the outdoor fitness equipment, garden beds and creating a graffiti wall. 

We would suggest that some of the work in creating these can be done through community volunteer teams, and maybe some of the cost can be offset by commercial sponsors.

The city will run a fitness challenge in which people are encouraged to log the number of circuits the make of the walk 'n row trail.  There will also pay and ride bicycle stations. Each circuit will be recorded either by an Ambassador on an ipad or at a terminal in the local library.  There will be weekly prize draws and then a grand prize for different age categories.

Stage 1 includes planning, funding sources, promotion and awareness, stakeholder engagement, events development, development of interactive historic content
Stage 2  upgrade trail, install trail activity infrastructure including clean energy generating equipment, appoint Ambassadors
Stage 3 includes free WiFi on the trail , meet an entrepreneur (people will be able to visit the artisans occupying the buildings along the trail), and developing a robust program around Holyoke as a clean green power machine (HGE can be a sponsor).

Opportunities to use BlueMix:
  • User modelling
  • Visual Recognition
  • Gamification
  • Internet of Things

Video Presentation

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Holyoke OK Team



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