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Located 30 miles south of Cape Cod, the island of Nantucket is 14 miles long and about 3.5 miles wide. It has a population of 10,000 year-round residents and attracts an additional 40,000 tourists each summer.
Nantucket was once a booming whaling center but is now primarily a summer resort and tourist destination. The island itself has changed little since the 17th century and retains many cobblestone streets, historic homes, and shops. The entire island is a National Historic District and has several excellent museums, many wonderful public beaches, and protected conservation land covering about 40% of the island.
The Nantucket Island Project Center is a residential program with a resident faculty advisor.
Nantucket offers a unique project environment because of its distinctive conflicting features. It is a high-end tourist destination in the summer, when tourists draw on the island’s limited resources; it is a historic site deeply committed to preservation; and it is an environmentally sensitive site where much of the land is protected. These features often clash, creating on-going challenges for town government, island residents, and local businesses. Many projects seek to resolve such issues in mutually beneficial ways.
Past projects have focused on issues of environmental sustainability (e.g., alternative energy and energy conservation), assisting town departments (e.g., in education about tick-borne diseases and developing information security protocols), and on museum studies (e.g., evaluating museum exhibits and programs and providing improved methods of wayfinding and interpretation). Project sponsors have included the Town of Nantucket, the Maria Mitchell Association, the Nantucket Historical Association, and Sustainable Nantucket.
Housing and sustainability - Evaluating strategies and options for expanding the availability of affordable housing in Nantucket, with an emphasis on green building methods Health and public awareness - Improving public communication concerning ticks and tick-borne diseases for inhabitants and visitors to Nantucket Tourism and technology - Creating a guided iPed tour of historic sites for the Nantucket Historical Association